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Updated: March 20, 2010 21:17 IST

Obama administration asked to disclose info about drone attacks

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U.S. President Barack Obama. File photo: AP.
U.S. President Barack Obama. File photo: AP.

An eminent civil liberties union has filed a lawsuit seeking information about the highly secretive US drone attacks, especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“The public has a right to know whether the targeted killings being carried out in its name are consistent with international law and with the country’s interests and values,” said Jonathan Manes, a legal fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) National Security Project.

“The Obama administration should disclose basic information about the programme, including its legal basis and limits, and the civilian casualty toll thus far,” he said in a statement.

The lawsuit asks for information on when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorised, the number and rate of civilian casualties and other basic information essential for assessing the wisdom and legality of using armed drones to conduct targeted killings.

The CIA and the military have used unmanned drones to target and kill individuals not only in Afghanistan and Iraq but also in Pakistan and, in at least one case in 2002, Yemen.

“None of the three agencies have provided any documents in response to the request, nor have they given any reason for withholding documents. The CIA answered the ACLU’s request by refusing to confirm or deny the existence of any relevant documents.

“The CIA is not a defendant in today’s lawsuit because the ACLU will first appeal the CIA’s non—response to the Agency Release Panel,” it said.

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