Mali

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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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @charlie_savage WEll, thanks for doing it even if there's obviously tons more stuff that could be declassed given what ODNI has released.
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emptywheel @charlie_savage One should be able to charge the redacting agency for each new redaction. Kind of a finder's fee for overclassification.
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emptywheel @charlie_savage Thanks for the heads up.
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emptywheel @charlie_savage "search search search search search search search search search target target target target target target target target"
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bmaz Hey @CBS5AZSPORTS your ability to screw your viewers/customers by giving us worst game possible is unparalleled. Why is this? @barrettmarson
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 They may actually be related--the store is right across Breton fr Toyko Grill, I believe it's owned by Japanese woman.
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 It's on Breton south of 44th in w/Harrocks (or whatever). It has more selection (tho not the Kimchi).
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 Nah, went all the way to the one at 44th and Breton. I was REALLY doing errands.
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 Didn't even downhill when I lived in UT. But the X-country skiing was lovely.
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 Except for lady at Asian grocery store felt HORRIBLE telling me I couldn't buy sake.
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 Tho to be fair, there are prolly even fewer stores open here on Sunday than in UT. But the Big Box Hell? Perfect Sunday AM.
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 See, in UT you had almost all day. Very handy in a place w/great mountains.
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