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 RT @nickmanes1: Bell's Brewing owner sends a "screw you" to AB-InBev. http://t.co/NbYYqvozlq
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emptywheel NSA: Yeah, sorry we lied abt using 702, 215 to catch DEA's OWN INFORMANT. We'd never thought abt if these were useful http://t.co/zMfQlUXl9s
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emptywheel @joanneleon Also "Trust us."
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emptywheel New rule: if a spy can't pitch value of dragnet in an elevator pitch w/o lying, SHUT IT DOWN.
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emptywheel Officials defend lying abt role of 215, 702 in Headley case bc of "super-heated atmosphere after Snowden revelations" http://t.co/zMfQlUXl9s
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emptywheel @onekade Well, if they can't steal cars anymore why not expose college students to the violence of cartels for cash?
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emptywheel @jsundmanus How about just ask a few pointed questions? One or two, maybe?
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emptywheel NSA, which has automatic system for matching IDs, claims it failed to match Headley's original name w/his changed one http://t.co/zMfQlUXl9s
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emptywheel @JuliaAngwin They'll use their drones to come drop off the goat in your yard. A real 21st century alternative to paying kids for yard work
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emptywheel .@CHARLESFADDIS on bulk surveillance: "You’re going to waste lot of $...you’re going have very little to show for it” http://t.co/zMfQlUXl9s
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emptywheel @Ali_Gharib ISO one ironic psychopathic dude. Must like torture, military parades, and sucking up to USG for aid dollars.
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bmaz @adamshermanesq No kidding. I guess it could be argued suspicious under Illinois v. Wardlow, but use of force+immediate arrest way excessive
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