Enough Secret Law: Newly Released DOJ Drone Killing Justification Memo… Points To Another Secret Drone Memo
from the sniffing-out-the-truth dept
We already reported on the finally released DOJ legal drone memo that supposedly “justifies” the extrajudicial killing of Americans via drones. However, as we noted, much of it was actually redacted, leaving many of the details and reasons totally secret. Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU lawyer who helped get this heavily redacted memo released in the first place has written up an analysis which notes how ridiculous the redactions are and the fact that the memo actually points to another secret memo that reveals more details:
In one instance, the long sought-after drone memo references another legal memo that concluded that al-Awlaki’s American citizenship did not “preclude the contemplated lethal action.” From this reference, we can deduce that the OLC authored a separate drone memo assessing – and dispensing with – the proposition that an American citizen had the right not to be deprived of his life without some form of judicial process. But that earlier memo, treated by the executive branch as binding law, is still secret.
This kind of thing is all too common, but tremendously problematic. For folks actually trying to understand what the law actually is the fact that people have to play this bizarre game of 20 questions, seeking secret laws and interpretations, only to get breadcrumbs pointing to other secret interpretations of the law is just ridiculous. We’ve complained in the past about the dangers of a secret law, but just the fact that the American public needs to play this stupid game, and the DOJ appears to have broken up the secret interpretations of the law into different sections, making it that much harder to track it all down, raises serious questions about what sort of government we have, and how Americans can be expected to respect, let alone obey, the law when we can’t even be told what it is.