Senate Intelligence Committee Member Ron Wyden STILL Hasn’t Seen Targeted Killing Memo

Every time I get into debates about the targeted killing program–especially the killing of Anwar al-Awlai–drone boosters insist that the oversight provided by the Intelligence Committees is adequate to the task.

That’s a quaint thought.

Ron Wyden, in a letter preparing John Brennan for his confirmation hearing, reveals that he still hasn’t seen the “secret legal opinions” (plural) authorizing the targeted killing program.

First, as you may be aware, I have asked repeatedly over the past two years to see the secret legal opinions that contain the executive branch’s understanding of the President’s authority to kill American citizens in the course of counterterroism operations. Senior intelligence officials have said publicly that they have authority to knowingly use lethal force against Americans in the course of counterterrorism operations, and have indicated that there are secret legal opinions issued by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that explain the basis for this authority. I have asked repeatedly to see these opinions, and I have been provided with some relevant information on the topic, but I have yet to see the opinions themselves.

[snip]

As I have said before, this situation is unacceptable. For the executive branch to claim that intelligence agencies have the authority to knowingly kill American citizens but refuse to provide Congress with any and all legal opinions hat explain the executive branch’s understanding of this authority represents an alarming and indefensible assertion of executive prerogative.

Remember, Wyden is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, that group of select men and women with whom the Executive must share even the findings authorizing the most covert operations.

And yet for two years, they have rebuffed Wyden’s questions about their claim to be authorized to kill Americans.

There’s more in the letter demonstrating how arrogant the Obama Administration has been with the purported overseers of its covert operations.

But it doesn’t get much scarier than the fact that the President won’t tell Congress the bases and limits to his authority to unilaterally kill Americans.

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bmaz @Johngcole It's not enough; Madam Secretary is horrible.
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bmaz @rdevro I'm going to ask @Ali_Gharib to come out here and work with me and try to restore my patriotism.
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bmaz RT @NoahShachtman: The US just simultaneously bombed opposing sides in a war. That's how f'ing crazy this #Syria conflict is.
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bmaz Now @CNN expert saying how amazing how pinpointed ISIS in so many locations. Cause, you know, we'd never blast a bunch of innocent civilians
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bmaz "Military expert" on @CNN says "important to note tonight is bigger than before". Pee Wee Herman could give better analysis.
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bmaz @LegallyErin Totally.
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bmaz @SeriousOne1975 @csoghoian Definitely sparkly though.
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bmaz @LegallyErin They need to give Mary Louise Parker her finger back.#Blacklist
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bmaz @SeriousOne1975 @csoghoian Not sure yet. Am just starting to shop.
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bmaz @rdevro @Ali_Gharib Well, golly, I'd like to and all, as you know, but not so much.
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bmaz @Merriiman No, we will starve and erode every other aspect of our society to make sure we keep the might. It's all that matters now.
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bmaz @rdevro @Ali_Gharib Well, that makes it super legal IHL/IHRL then!
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