Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Congress to get classified memo on drone strike

WASHINGTON — The White House on Wednesday directed the Justice Department to release to the two congressional intelligence panels classified documents discussing the legal justification killing, by drone strikes and other means, U.S. citizens abroad who are considered terrorists.

The White House announcement appears to refer to a long, detailed 2010 memo from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel justifying the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who joined al-Qaida in Yemen. He was killed in a CIA drone strike in September 2011. Members of Congress have long demanded access to the memo.

The decision to release the legal memos came two days after a bipartisan group of 11 senators joined a growing chorus asking for more information about the legal justification for targeted killings, especially of Americans.

It also came on the eve of today's confirmation hearing for John Brennan, President Barack Obama's choice for CIA director. Brennan was chief architect of the drone program as Obama's counterterrorism adviser, and the Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to closely question him about his role.

Critics accused Obama of hypocrisy for keeping the legal opinions on targeted killing secret, noting that in 2009 he ordered the public release of the classified memos governing CIA interrogations under President George W. Bush. Administration officials replied that the so-called enhanced interrogations had been stopped, while drone strikes continue.

Until Wednesday night, the administration refused to even acknowledge the existence of the documents, which have been reported in the media.

Administration officials said Obama decided to take the action to involve Congress in developing the legal framework.

Congress to get classified memo on drone strike 02/06/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 11:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Austin Mahone talks Pitbull, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, his pop evolution and more


    Austin Mahone has vivid memories from his childhood visits to see his grandparents in Tampa Bay.

  2. Motorcyclist killed in Pinellas Park crash, prompting road closures


    A motorcyclist was killed early Tuesday morning when he left the roadway and possibly struck a parked vehicle in Pinellas Park.

  3. Meet the five finalists for St. Petersburg College president


    ST. PETERSBURG — In the last month, five finalists for the job of St. Petersburg College president have taken campus tours and answered questions from students, faculty and staff.

    The Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr., Midtown Center of St. Petersburg College, opened in 2015, is considered a major accomplishment by outgoing SPC president William Law. [SOPHIA NAHLI  ALLISON  |   TIMES]
  4. Austin Mahone performs at the Y100's Jingle Ball 2016 last December in Sunrise. Read our interview with him this morning. [Getty Images for iHeart]
  5. Clarity coming this week on Florida Gators, Malik Zaire


    After months of speculation, we could finally get some clarity this week on the Florida Gators and graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire.

    SEC flags outside the hotel of last year's spring meetings in Destin. This year's meetings could have a huge impact on the Florida Gators' season.