Judge: CIA need not release drone strike files


Josh Gerstein
Politico
September 12, 2011

A federal judge ruled Friday that the Central Intelligence Agency does not have to release any records related to its use of unmanned drone aircraft to kill suspected terrorists in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Ruling in a Freedom of Information Act case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, Judge Rosemary Collyer said records about the use of drones could be withheld under the rubric of “intelligence sources and methods.” She rejected the ACLU’s arguments that lethal drones aren’t really involved in acquiring intelligence.

“At first blush, there is force to Plaintiffs’ argument that a ‘targeted-killing program is not an intelligence program’ in the most strict and traditional sense,” Collyer wrote, before concluding: “The Court has no reason to second-guess the CIA as to which programs that may or may not be of interest implicate the gathering of intelligence.”

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