The Central Intelligence Agency continues to refuse to confirm or deny the covert military use of drones to kill suspected terrorists overseas, despite President Barack Obama’s and even a former CIA director’s admission of the agency’s targeted killing program.
Despite numerous public comments on the CIA’s drone attacks in far-flung locales such as Yemen from various government officials, including former CIA Director Leon Panetta and President Obama, the CIA is taking the position in court that it would have to eliminate you with one of its drones if it acknowledged the program.
So on Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal appeals court to expedite a hearing (.pdf) on its Freedom of Information Act request seeking details of the drone program. Hours later, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit set a September 20 oral argument. (.pdf)The development comes as 26 members of Congress asked Obama, in a letter, to consider the consequences of drone killing and to explain the necessity of the program. The use of drones to shoot missiles from afar at vehicles and buildings that the nation’s intelligence agencies believe are being used by suspected terrorists began under the Bush administration and was widened by Obama to allow the targeting of American citizens. Drone strikes by the Pentagon and the CIA have sparked backlashes from foreign governments and populations, as the strikes often kill civilians, including women and children.