Government Asks for Another Delay in Targeted Killing FOIA Lawsuit

We’ve just learned that the Obama administration has asked the court for another extension for filing briefs in the ACLU’s FOIA lawsuit seeking information about the government’s targeted killing program (see the government’s letter here, and the ACLU’s response opposing the request here). Responding to the news, ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said:

“We are disappointed and frustrated with the administration's eleventh-hour request for more time to answer a Freedom of Information Act request it should have responded to months ago. The FOIA law was meant to guarantee not just access to information but timely access, and the administration's serial requests for delay are tantamount to a denial of this right. The administration's request for further delay is particularly remarkable because, over the last few weeks, several senior officials have given public speeches about the targeted killing program. The program is plainly not a secret. It should not take the administration months to acknowledge as much to the courts.”

Our FOIA request, filed last October, asks for information relating about the targeted killings of three U.S. citizens in Yemen: Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, and Samir Khan.

The targeted killing program goes beyond the law by claiming unprecedented authority for the executive branch. Releasing information about how the program works is the first step in the process of bringing it in line with the Constitution.

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