On January 13, 2010, the ACLU petitioned Washington under the Freedom of Information ACT (FOIA). It requested legal justification claimed for conducting predator drone targeted killings abroad.
In March 2010, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. As part of its challenge, it collected about 200 on-and-off the record public statements. Former and current US officials made them.
It "demand(ed) that the government disclose the legal basis for its use of unmanned drones to conduct targeted killings overseas."
"In particular, the lawsuit asks for information on when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, the number and rate of civilian casualties and the other basis information essential for assessing the wisdom and legality of using armed drones to conduct targeted killings."
In court briefs, Justice Department lawyers claimed revealing sensitive documents would compromise national security. How many times before have we heard that? It doesn't wash.
The same excuse is given in political prosecution cases. Secret evidence is used to convict. Defense attorneys and defendants can't contest it. Who knows if it exists?
On September 13, ProPublica.org headlined "How the Gov't Talks About a Drone Program it Won't Acknowledge Exists," saying:
Drones are Washington's weapon of choice. They're used for targeted assassinations. No one anyway is safe. Eye in the sky predator drones spot victims, aim, fire and kill.
Administration officials claim drone warfare works. It does so sans details, often staying anonymous, yet claiming "tacit credit" at the same time.