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Bloomberg View: Obama Must Come Clean on Drones

It’s time for the administration to come clean on drones
A military worker adjusts the protective cover of a General Atomics MQ-9 Predator B unmanned aircraft system drone
A military worker adjusts the protective cover of a General Atomics MQ-9 Predator B unmanned aircraft system dronePhotograph by Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Federal Judge Colleen McMahon has issued an important but puzzling decision regarding the Obama administration’s drone campaign against Islamic terrorists. After declaring that the White House need not respond to Freedom of Information Act requests to turn over its legal doctrine for the drone program, she raised the possibility that the president is a murderer.

The plaintiffs—the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times—asked the administration to turn over a 2010 Department of Justice memo that provided the legal justification for the 2011 targeted killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. Their argument: Officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, had divulged much of the legal rationale in public and could no longer claim classified privilege. McMahon sided with the government.