In the immediate wake of Thursday’s publication of astonishing leaked documents and in-depth reporting by The Intercept which reveal the inner workings of the U.S. military’s covert drone campaign overseas, human rights groups are calling for an official congressional inquiry into the program and the Obama administration’s efforts to keep it secret.
“These revelations are further damning evidence that the Obama administration is continuing the Bush-era project of treating the world as a global battlefield while evading public accountability.”
—Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA
“These documents raise serious concerns about whether the USA has systematically violated international law, including by classifying unidentified people as ‘combatants’ to justify their killings,” said Naureen Shah, director of the Security with Human Rights campaign at Amnesty International USA.
The public release of the documents and their contents, she added, “warrants an immediate congressional inquiry into why the Obama administration has kept this vital information secret, including the real identities of all those killed in this global killing program.”
What would such a review look like? As ACLU National Security Project director Hina Shamsi and international human rights lawyer Sarah Knuckey wrote in a post for Just Security in May, it would involve “robust” oversight from Congress, as used during the investigation into the CIA torture report published earlier this year, as well as adjudication by federal courts in cases of alleged wrongful killings, and publication of the Obama administration’s “legal and policy justifications, factual
“The Obama administration’s lethal program desperately needs transparency and accountability because it is undermining the right to life and national security.”
—Hina Shamsi, ACLUbases, and the consequences of its decisions to kill in response to Freedom of Information Act transparency requests.”
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