“Executive should release the portions of the [Office of Legal Counsel] Memos outlining the purported legal justification for targeting US citizens,” the brief filed Wednesday said. “The Executive’s attempt to conceal these records from public view is contrary to FOIA and is offensive to basic notions of democratic accountability.”
Senators Ron Wyden, Rand Paul, Jeff Merkley and Martin Heinrich filed the brief in support of the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times, which have filed lawsuits seeking Justice Department legal memos that justify drone attacks on US citizens living abroad.
The Senators are demanding the memos “both to ensure that lawmakers are better able to monitor and check excesses and abuses by the Executive Branch and to ensure that the public has enough information to hold its Government accountable,” according to the brief.
Secrecy, the senators said, is “impeding a healthy debate on an issue of paramount importance: when the Government may use drone strikes to kill one of its own citizens without charge or trial.”
The Obama Administration claims that its drone attacks are totally legal.