The Obama administration decided not to appeal a court order and will release a secret memo detailing its legal justification for drone strikes on American citizens in foreign countries, according to the Washington Post:
The Justice Department will publicly release a secret 2011 memo that provided the legal justification for the killing of American terrorism suspects overseas, according to a U.S. official, following extensive pressure on the administration to do so.
The department had been weighing whether to appeal a court order to disclose the memo but informed the White House on Tuesday that it would not, the official said. The decision came on the eve of a Senate vote on President Obama’s nomination of David J. Barron, one of the memo’s authors, to a federal appeals court judgeship.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) pressed the administration on the issue with a filibuster last year. As The New American reports, Paul wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):
On April 21, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordered that the Department of Justice disclose a redacted version of the Office of Legal Counsel memorandum that authorized the targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. David Barron was one of the principal writers of this memorandum. He has spoken openly about his role in crafting the administration’s legal position that it can kill Americans abroad without due process.
It would be irresponsible for the Senate to move forward on this nomination until the Department of Justice has complied with the court order to disclose this document, which will highlight Barron’s views on international law, the Fifth Amendment, and its guarantee of due process, and the civil liberties of our nation’s citizens.
In February 2013, the White House claimed that killing Americans without due process is “legal,” “necessary,” “ethical,” and “wise.”