ACLU Comment on Targeted Killing “Disposition Matrix”

October 24, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – The Washington Post reported today that the government is putting into place a “codified” targeted killing program that is designed to last decades, if not indefinitely.

“Anyone who thought U.S. targeted killing outside of armed conflict was a narrow, emergency-based exception to the requirement of due process before a death sentence is being proven conclusively wrong,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. “The danger of dispensing with due process is obvious because without it, we cannot be assured that the people in the government’s death database truly present a concrete, imminent threat to the country. What we do know is that tragic mistakes have been made, hundreds of civilian bystanders have died, and our government has even killed a 16-year-old U.S. citizen without acknowledging let alone explaining his death. A bureaucratized paramilitary killing program that targets people far from any battlefield is not just unlawful, it will create more enemies than it kills.”

The ACLU has filed two lawsuits to enforce Freedom of Information Act requests about the program and another lawsuit, with the Center for Constitutional Rights, to challenge its constitutionality.

“It has become the norm for government officials to disclose cherry-picked information about ostensibly classified programs while insisting to the courts that the programs are too secret to be discussed or defended in court,” said Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director. “This practice deprives the public of complete and accurate information about important government policies, compromises the integrity of the classification system and suggests a disturbing contempt for the judicial process. The courts should reject the government's effort to transform FOIA into a dead letter.”

More information on the ACLU’s targeted killing lawsuits is at:
www.aclu.org/national-security/targeted-killings

 

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