Algeria

The Targeted Killing Memos Shared with NYT, But Not Senate Intelligence Committee

According to the National Journal, one of the memos the Administration refuses to share with the intelligence committees authorizes the use of force in Algeria and, perhaps also in the same memo, with Mali.

Despite President Obama’s pledge in his State of the Union address to make the drone program “even more transparent to the American people and to the world,” his administration continues to resist efforts by Congress, even from fellow Democrats, to obtain the full range of classified legal memos justifying “targeted killing.”

A key reason for that reticence, according to two sources who have read the memos or are aware of their contents, is that the documents contain secret protocols with foreign governments,

[snip]

Others may have been signed with the leaders of Algeria and Mali, the legal expert said. Given the widespread unpopularity of the drone program, the disclosure of these agreements could prove extremely embarrassing both for the United States and partner governments.

The Senate Intelligence Committee can’t learn the details of what the government is up to, the Administration says, because even sharing information (much less publicizing details) about our agreements with governments like Algeria would be embarrassing for all parties involved.

So who are the former and current government officials and senior administration officials leaking information to the NYT about new efforts — including the use of unarmed drones — to target the Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar in Algeria and Mali?

The NYT reports that earlier concerns about conducting operations not covered by the 2001 AUMF have recently been allayed.

The idea of taking stronger action in the region has been supported in recent months by Michael Sheehan, the senior counterterrorism official at the Pentagon, and Daniel Benjamin, who until December was the senior State Department counterterrorism official. In the past, State Department lawyers have questioned whether the military action approved by Congress against Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks authorized efforts to target extremists who were not clearly linked to the group. But according to some officials, those legal arguments  have recently been overcome.

“Those legal arguments have recently been overcome.” By the adoption of new OLC advice the Administration won’t share with Congress?

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bmaz @laRosalind @honeyhoneyband Crap, it is a Wednesday night. Gonna be tough. Sure wish they would come to Phoenix area.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @frontlinepbs: Breaking: Doctor finds 76 of 79 deceased NFL players tested for brain damage had it http://t.co/0f9WfarXJx http://t.co/UU
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JimWhiteGNV @onekade I'm betting that Geraldo Rivera steps out of that thing when you open it.
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bmaz RT @radleybalko: Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes bill to inform juries when prosecutors intentionally withhold exculpatory evidence. http://…
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JimWhiteGNV RT @erinmcunningham: Oh. Man. --> Iraqi Pilots Mistakenly Drop Food, Ammo to ISIS Militants http://t.co/RY5OB3JLu1
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emptywheel @Krhawkins5 They do use lethal force against people who have non-weapons in hand. Maybe that's parallel? @attackerman @PentagonPresSec
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emptywheel @JonCoppage Welp, having FBI/DOJ scream hysterically and making demonstrably false claims abt what it does does not amount to that sorting.
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emptywheel @JonCoppage No. They are false criers, and they are worse than a nuisance. If you lie in wielding govt power, you should lose that power.
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emptywheel @JonCoppage This is not Peter and wolf story. It is Peter claiming there's only one way to catch a wolf, one he never uses.
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emptywheel @JonCoppage Again if we're going to eliminate all technologies used to hide crime, we should start w/corporation. Not hearing cries to do so
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emptywheel @JonCoppage No. There is pretty crystal clear evidence they have lied about risks in the past. They have lost all credibility.
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emptywheel @JonCoppage Which is where LE normally identifies them, yes. So their claims abt pedophiles are, like claims abt kidnappers, prolly lies.
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