ACLU looking for answers on legal basis for drone strikes


Since taking office last year President Barack Obama has significantly increased the use of drones in Pakistan. Now the ACLU is asking just what gives him and the CIA the legal authority to do so.

The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request yesterday with the Departments of Defense, Justice and State and the CIA asking the government to disclose where the power comes from to order strikes on a country Congress has neither declared war against nor authorized the use of military force.

Jonathan Manes, a legal fellow with the civil liberties group, had this to say in a press release:

"The American public has a right to know whether the drone program is consistent with international law, and that all efforts are made to minimize the loss of innocent lives. The Obama Administration has reportedly expanded the drone program, but it has not explained publicly what the legal basis for the programs, what limitations it recognizes on the use of drones outside active theaters of war and what the civilian casualty toll has been thus far. We're hopeful that he request we've filed today will encourage the Obama administration to disclose information about the basis, scope and implementation of the program."

The FOIA request also asks for information about the number killed in the strikes, including civilians.

[PHOTO: Megan McCloskey/Stars and Stripes] 

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