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FOIA News: DOJ drone memos protected by Second Circuit

FOIA News (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

NY court: Targeted killings memos can be kept secret

Larry Neumeister, Associated Press, Nov. 23, 2015

The U.S. government can keep secret various memos related to its legal justification for using drones to kill citizens suspected of terrorism overseas, a federal appeals court said in a decision unsealed Monday.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reached its decision in a second round of Freedom of Information Act requests by the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times after an earlier request had succeeded in forcing the government to disclose a redacted version of a 2010 41-page legal opinion prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department describing for the Defense Department the legality of targeted drone attacks.

The appeals court said then that prior public disclosures by senior government officials including President Barack Obama necessitated the document's release.  The Oct. 22 decision by the 2nd Circuit to keep eight memos secret largely upheld an Oct. 31, 2014 ruling by U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan. It remained sealed for a month to provide time for appeal.  

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