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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Dead silence

Did we just go through the looking glass?

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected The New York Times' bid to force the U.S. government to disclose more information about its targeted killing of people it believes have ties to terrorism, including American citizens.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan said the Obama administration did not violate the law by refusing the Times' request for the legal justifications for targeted killings, a strategy the Times said was first contemplated by the Bush administration soon after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

McMahon appeared reluctant to rule as she did, noting in her decision that disclosure could help the public understand the "vast and seemingly ever-growing exercise in which we have been engaged for well over a decade, at great cost in lives, treasure, and (at least in the minds of some) personal liberty."

[. . .]

Citing protections envisioned by the Constitution's framers, McMahon said there were "legitimate reasons, historical and legal" to question whether the administration could unilaterally authorize killings taking place outside a "hot" field of battle.

But she rejected the Times' argument that the administration could not rely on exemptions from having to disclose classified or privileged material by virtue of having made at least two dozen public statements about the targeted killing program.

Among these were Obama's statements in an online forum on January 30, 2012, that the government was "judicious" in its use of drones, and that the program was "kept on a very tight leash."

Oh, well, then, as long as the program is on a "very tight leash," what's everybody so worried about? And who are these fussy little people in whose minds "personal liberty" is a concern? Just because the government can decide to kill one of us and not have to talk about it, let alone justify it?

Note that conservatives were reluctant to criticize President Bush for any violations of rights in the war on terror and liberals are equally quiet about President Obama. All those who have been clamoring for more bipartisanship -- this what you wanted?