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Disclosure of government secrets often has little to do with the public's right to know

• Raw Story

Disclosure of government secrets often has little to do with the public's right to know and has everything to do an official's need to tell, according to ACLU deputy director Jameel Jaffer.

And that's especially true when it comes to assassinations, which have not traditionally been an openly admitted component of U.S. foreign policy -- but the American Civil Liberities Union is cautioning that the Obama administration is changing all of that.

In an exclusive interview with Raw Story, Jaffer, a key attorney with the rights group, even warned that the Democrat in office has taken a position on unilateral murder so extreme as to be "profoundly troubling" in its legal reach and potential for future use.

"U.S. officials hurt our democracy by withholding information from the courts but then disclosing it to the public whenever it suits their needs," Jaffer wrote in a Wednesday Los Angeles Times op-ed.

For example, the CIA's "targeted killing" program has been shrouded in secrecy for years, but a recent Newsweek interview with former CIA lawyer John Rizzo shed light on the policy.

The "kill list," which Rizzo said he signed off on during his time at the agency, contains about 30 civilians or "unlawful combatants" to be targeted and killed.

In 2010, the ACLU sued the Obama administration after it was leaked that Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, was on the government's "kill list."

 

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