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White House to release legal memo on killing U.S. citizens with drones

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s Justice Department will release a long-sought secret document laying out the legal basis for using drones to kill Americans suspected of terrorist activities abroad, administration officials confirmed Tuesday.

Rather than appeal a court order that the so-called “drone memo” be released under the Freedom of Information Act, Attorney General Eric Holder concurred with the decision of Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli not to pursue the appeal and agreed to release a redacted version of the document, the officials said.

Officials requested anonymity to discuss the closed-door deliberations, first disclosed Tuesday by the Associated Press. The documents will be released later, pending court approval.

Administration lawyers are asking that the document be redacted to hide classified information, officials confirmed, although the legal reasoning will be legible.

The news leaked a day before the Senate was scheduled to hold a procedural vote to advance the judicial nomination of the writer of the memo, David Barron, a former Justice Department official nominated to serve on the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.


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