News Release

Drone Memo: Justifying Murder


The New York Times is reporting: “A federal appeals court in New York on Monday made public a redacted version of a 2010 Justice Department memo that signed off on the targeted killing of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, without a trial, following Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.” The memo was written months after the killing of Awlaki.

MARCY WHEELER, emptywheel at, @emptywheel
Wheeler is an independent investigative journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. She writes for various outlets including her blog. She just wrote the piece “Working Thread: The Awlaki Memo” and is tweeting critical information about the memo. [PDF]

Kevin Jon Heller has written extensively on drone killings — parts of the memo just released appear to be responses to his writing. His pieces include “Let’s Call Killing al-Awlaki What It Is — Murder.” Also see his Twitter feed: @kevinjonheller.

He is professor of criminal law, SOAS, University of London and principal fellow, Melbourne Law School.

Senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, Kebriaei said today: “Separate from problems with the substance of this memo, the administration needs to release all of its legal memos; this is only one among as many as a dozen we still haven’t seen. It also needs to release data about how many killed, who, where, why. Everything we know comes from non-government sources.”