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21 Feb, 2013 10:57

Obama moves to keep kill list memos secret forever

Obama moves to keep kill list memos secret forever

United States President Barack Obama has no plans to show Congress the legal rulings that justify his use of drones to kill US citizens, despite urging from members of his own political party.

Both members of the House and Senate have demanded as of late that the Obama administration explain more about the president’s ability to execute Americans suspected of terrorist activity without ever taking them to trial. Members of his own party have continuously pressed President Obama to disclose more information on his targeted kill program to no avail, but even as questions intensify and answers continue to be unknown, the president is reportedly dismissing pleas largely coming from the left and is preparing to side with Republicans — political foes who are much less concerned about his drone program than last year’s terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

In lieu of opening up about the justification for killing his own citizens, Pres. Obama will reportedly instead offer up instead intelligence about last September’s incident in Libya that left four Americans dead, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens. The event has become a point of contention on both sides of the aisle, and ongoing disputes over the mishandling of the assault and an alleged cover-up in the days and weeks after have driven a rift in Washington. Now with some lawmakers threatening to halt cabinet nominations recently made by the president in protest, Mr. Obama will reportedly offer Congress information about the Benghazi attack and not his drone program.

According to the New York Times, Obama administration officials are in talks with members of the Republican Party that are expected to end with the White House opening up about Benghazi. In making that decision, though, the paper reports that the commander-in-chief will ignore pleas from his own political party to discuss his overseas drone program, his ability to wage extrajudicial killings on US citizens and his secretive kill list.

By siding with right-wing opponents, Pres. Obama may finally succeed in having hand-picked choice John O. Brennan confirmed for a role as director of the CIA after having his nomination held up on Capitol Hill be lawmakers wanting to learn more about Benghazi. In the process, though, the president could be alienating Democrats and once more going back on a promise to bring drone discussion to the forefront of politics.

“I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word that we’re doing things the right way,” the president said during his State of the Union address this month. “So, in the months ahead, I will continue to engage with Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances, but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world.”

As the president bides his time, however, less is being revealed about an increasingly deadly program. Earlier this week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) claimed that America’s drone program has caused around 4,700 deaths internationally. At least two US citizens — including a teenage boy — have been killed in American-led drone strikes overseas.

Earlier this week, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) told CBS television program Meet the Press that information about Benghazi has not been forthcoming and he personally has many questions he wants answered by the White House.

"We've had two movies about getting bin Laden and we don't even know who the people were who were evacuated from the consulate the day after the attack. So there are many, many questions. And we've had a massive cover-up on the part of the administration,” he said.