The ACLU on Monday filed an appeal brief demanding that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) hand over data on its secretive global drone program, including the identities of people killed by airstrikes carried out by the U.S. military in Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan.
No information on the program, including its legal justification, has been officially disclosed to the public.
The Intercept last week published The Drone Papers, a months-long investigation into the program that used a cache of intelligence documents leaked by an anonymous whistleblower to reveal the operation’s internal structure and the chain of command underlying the military’s aerial assassinations. In the aftermath of the report, the ACLU and several other human rights and civil liberties organizations demanded immediate accountability for the officials involved.
With Monday’s appeal brief, the ACLU is breathing new life into a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed in January 2010 to force the CIA to give up the data.
The information “is crucial to the public’s ability to understand government policy and hold policymakers accountable for their decisions,” the brief states. The FOIA was put into law to “guarantee the public access to the kind of information the CIA is now withholding.”
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