US can keep secrets on targeted drone killings, rules judge

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 04, 2013 06:51 hrs

A US judge has ruled the Obama's administration is not required to publicly disclose its legal justification for the drone attacks and other methods it has used to kill terrorism suspects overseas.

Two New York Times reporters and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a 2011 request that sought any documents in which Department of Justice lawyers had discussed the highly classified "targeted-killing" program.

The requests followed a drone strike in Yemen that killed an al Qaeda leader, Anwar Al-Awlaki, who had been born in the U.S.

That attack prompted complaints from some law scholars and human rights activists that, away from the battlefield, it was illegal for the U.S. to kill American citizens without a trial.

According to CBS News, in a decision signed on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon chided the Obama administration for refusing to provide the documents, but said she had no authority to order them disclosed.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice declined to comment on the ruling, saying only that the decision was under review, the report said.

According to the report, David McCraw, assistant general counsel at the Times, said the newspaper planned to appeal the judge's ruling.

Although he also praised her for speaking 'eloquently and at length to the serious legal questions raised by the targeted-killing program," the report added. (ANI)

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