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Wed Feb 20, 2013, 11:52 PM

White House Tactic for C.I.A. Bid Holds Back Drone Memos

The White House is refusing to share fully with Congress the legal opinions that justify targeted killings, while maneuvering to make sure its stance does not do anything to endanger the confirmation of John O. Brennan as C.I.A. director.

Rather than agreeing to some Democratic senatorsí demands for full access to the classified legal memos on the targeted killing program, Obama administration officials are negotiating with Republicans to provide more information on the lethal attack last year on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, according to three Congressional staff members.

The strategy is intended to produce a bipartisan majority vote for Mr. Brennan in the Senate Intelligence Committee without giving its members seven additional legal opinions on targeted killing sought by senators and while protecting what the White House views as the confidentiality of the Justice Departmentís legal advice to the president. It would allow Mr. Brennanís nomination to go to the Senate floor even if one or two Democrats vote no to protest the refusal to share more legal memos.

Only after an unclassified Justice Department white paper summarizing the legal arguments was leaked to NBC News this month did the administration make two legal opinions on the targeted killing of American citizens briefly available to members of the Intelligence Committees.

From earlier this month.

Congress to See Memo Backing Drone Attacks on Americans

The White House on Wednesday directed the Justice Department to release to the two Congressional Intelligence Committees classified documents discussing the legal justification for killing, by drone strikes and other means, American citizens abroad who are considered terrorists.

The White House announcement appears to refer to a long, detailed 2010 memo from the Justice Departmentís Office of Legal Counsel justifying the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric who had joined Al Qaeda in Yemen. He was killed in a C.I.A. drone strike in September 2011. Members of Congress have long demanded access to the legal memorandum.

The decision to release the legal memo to the Intelligence Committees came under pressure, two days after a bipartisan group of 11 senators joined a growing chorus asking for more information about the legal justification for targeted killings, especially of Americans.

The announcement also came on the eve of the confirmation hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon for John O. Brennan, President Obamaís choice to be director of the C.I.A., who has been the chief architect of the drone program as Mr. Obamaís counterterrorism adviser.

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Reply White House Tactic for C.I.A. Bid Holds Back Drone Memos (Original post)
Solly Mack Feb 2013 OP
TwilightGardener Feb 2013 #1
Solly Mack Feb 2013 #2
TwilightGardener Feb 2013 #3

Response to Solly Mack (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 12:08 AM

1. Well, that's some pretty hard maneuvering to get Brennan confirmed--

going around Dems and making Benghazi deals with Repubs. Interesting stuff.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:42 AM

2. Have to wait and see if it happens.

I think Brennan will be confirmed no matter what. (deals, no deals)

If there is some sort of deal over Benghazi that will probably make the news too.

Could just be politics. GOP claim they got something, so they voted for Brennan. But frame it as a concession from the WH. (or an end-run around Democrats)

I don't know.

I'm waiting to see what the next news story is on it.

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Response to Solly Mack (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 09:53 AM

3. Oh, he'll be confirmed--secret-Muslim stories from the Teabag base notwithstanding, the

GOP Senators love him for the most part, and Dems are mostly OK with him. In this case, the WH and the Senate are all in agreement, it's just a matter of horse trading.

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