The Senate Judiciary Committee Hasn’t Seen the Targeted Killing Memo Either

I guess it should be no surprise that Pat Leahy, the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, hasn’t seen the memo authorizing the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. After all, if the full Senate Intelligence Committee–which is supposed to exercise oversight over covert operations like that assassination–hasn’t seen the memo, then it’d be unlikely the Administration would share it with Leahy, much less the full committee.

But Charlie Savage confirms that Leahy has not seen it (while also catching Eric Holder giving a response far more comprehensive than the Glomar response the NYT and ACLU have received in FOIA requests).

For months, the Obama administration has refused to confirm or deny the existence of a Justice Department memorandum that approved the targeted killing of a United States citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, who died in a drone strike in Yemen last September.

But in an exchange at a budget hearing on Thursday, Senator Patrick J. Leahy and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. came close to implicitly conceding that there is indeed such a memo, which was written by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Mr. Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, brought up a conversation he said he and Mr. Holder had earlier this week about a speech on “drones and targeting of U.S. citizens” that the attorney general delivered on Monday.

“I still want to see the Office of Legal Counsel memorandum and I would urge you to keep working on that,” Mr. Leahy said to Mr. Holder. “I realize that’s a matter of some debate within the administration but …”

The senator then paused, smiled and laughed. Mr. Holder responded by nodding and said, chuckling, “That would be true.”

Say, Pat?

You were in an Appropriations Committee hearing.

One way–the only proven way–of forcing an Administration to act like it’s still a democracy is to withhold funds. Attach rules like, “DOJ may not authorize the targeted killing of US citizens unless it has shared the legal argument with its oversight committees.” Or, “DOJ may not authorize the targeted killing of US citizens without due process including judicial review.”

Unless you actually make the Administration act like they’re in a democracy, we’re all just pretending. And an Appropriations meeting is the perfect time to do such things.

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6 Responses to The Senate Judiciary Committee Hasn’t Seen the Targeted Killing Memo Either

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel Q; Has a single Hill journo asked CISA's sponsors how it would have prevented OPM, Sony, or Target? A single one?
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JimWhiteGNV RT @TBTimes_Rays: And Richie Shaffer's first big-league hit is a homer. #Rays give him total silent treatment in the dugout, and he does th…
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JimWhiteGNV With all the money @Tropicana puts into naming rights and sponsorship of #Rays, why don't they make better ads than just an insipid jingle?
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emptywheel RT @vandebum: "We walked the absentees," said Bliss campaigner David Doyle #grmayor2015 meaning they door-knocked people before they got th…
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 Yeah, but I found the timing curious. If he had thought there'd be a mayoral he may have done something different.
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emptywheel @p2wy I definitely saw Dean signs (tho not all in city limits!). Only got lit from Dean and Bliss. No robocalls. @nickmanes1
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 The real story is whether Snyder did a poll on this before he announced the Dillon replacement timing.
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 She would have had people actually knock on doors come November, but didn't need to.
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 Well, like Bliss had people walking streets on Saturday. But not bothering to knock on doors. Just leaving litter.
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emptywheel @KagroX Since all Republicans believe money is speech...
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emptywheel @KagroX If Republicans were smart they'd say "based on fundraising," bc Trump isn't fundraising, and the others can mainline Adelson bucks.
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emptywheel @p2wy Big Fluoride had a weird coalition to try to pitch @nickmanes1
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