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US will release drone-strike memo holding up judicial confirmation of former Justice official

Posted May 21, 2014 7:50 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. won’t appeal an appeals court order requiring disclosure of a classified legal memo justifying the killing of an American terrorism suspect living overseas, according to published reports.

The Justice Department told the White House on Tuesday of its decision to release the 2011 memo in redacted form, report the Washington Post and the New York Times. The stories are based on information from unidentified officials.

The issue had held up the judicial confirmation of the memo author, David Barron, who was nominated for a seat on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Now a Harvard law professor, Barron wrote two drone memos when he was acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. The longer memo will be released, according to the Times.

Lawmakers were allowed to see the memo last week. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he believes Democrats now have enough votes to confirm Barron, report the Associated Press and the Boston Globe.

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