Friday, September 21, 2012

US court calls CIA emperor without clothes

Press TV

A US appeals court in Washington has denounced President Barack Obama’s CIA-run policy of assassination drone strikes, calling the CIA an emperor without clothes. 

On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to court over Pentagon’s controversial drone policy after the US government refused to release documents related to the drone attacks, also known as the “targeted killing” program.

Judge Merrick Garland told government lawyer Stuart Delery, "If the CIA is the emperor, aren't you asking us to say that the emperor has clothes even when the emperor's bosses say it doesn't?"

The ACLU has tried to file Freedom of Information Act requests to get information on the CIA's drone program.

However, the US spy agency has refused to respond to the requests, saying that it cannot confirm the existence of the program.

The assassination drone program is cloaked in secrecy, even as officials up to President Obama admit it exists.

On January 31, 2012, Obama confirmed that the United States uses the pilotless aircraft in Pakistan and other countries.

In 2009, former director of the CIA, Leon Panetta said, "Because these are covert and secret operations, I can't go into particulars. I think it does suffice to say that these operations have been very effective."

“The notion that the CIA’s targeted killing program is a secret nothing short of absurd,” ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said on Tuesday.

The US regularly uses the unmanned aircraft for attacks on Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Afghanistan, claiming the airstrikes target Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, but locals say civilians are the main victims of the assaults.

The aerial attacks were initiated by former US President George W. Bush but have been escalated under Obama.

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