Info in drone-strike memo would harm national security if released, US says in filing

The U.S. government, fearful of a national security breach, is seeking to redact more information before releasing a document laying out its legal reasoning for drone killings of Americans overseas who are suspected of terrorism, the Associated Press reports.

The filing (PDF) late Thursday at the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not appeal a ruling by that court last month ordering the document released after a Freedom of Information request by The New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union. But some of the information in it could pose “exceptionally grave harm to national security,” said the petition by the U.S. Justice Department, Department of Defense and CIA.

Besides harming national security, the agencies argue, release of some of the information would chill confidential deliberations and legal advice.

The Times’ assistant general counsel, David E. McGraw, told the AP that “the government raised all these points before and lost.” The FOIA request came after three U.S. citizens were killed in 2011 in two drone strikes in Yemen.

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