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The Project On Government Oversight recently joined a friend of the court brief written by the Electronic Privacy Information Center supporting The New York Times in its effort to obtain a memorandum written by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). The memo discusses the legality of the U.S. tactic of targeted killing of individuals deemed to have ties to terrorism. OLC opinions are binding on the executive branch, and the American people deserve to know the substance of that law. Keeping these opinions from the public seriously damages our democracy.

The Times case is similar to that involving the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). POGO signed on to an amicus brief in that case as well; EFF seeks disclosure of an OLC memorandum concerning the use of national security letters to obtain the communications records of American citizens without a warrant. These cases highlight the clash between the Administration’s national security and open government objectives. You can read more about the EFF case and the importance of disclosure of OLC memoranda here.

The two cases are: New York Times Co. v. U.S. Department of Justice, 11 CIV. 9336(CM), 2013 WL 50209 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 3, 2013) and Electronic Frontier Foundation v. United States Department of Justice, No. 1:11-cv-00939-RJL (D.D.C.).

By: Meryl Grenadier
Legal Intern, POGO

Meryl Grenadier At the time of publication, Meryl Grenadier was a legal intern with the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Open Government

Related Content: Government Secrecy

Authors: Meryl Grenadier

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