Friday, June 10, 2011
The ACLU yesterday sued the U.S. State Department to get copies of 23 cables relating to the secret use of drones for targeted killings, opposition to the release of photos showing U.S. torture of detainees, and attempts to undermine European investigations into the rendition and torture of suspected terrorists. The complaint in ACLU v. Department of State (D.D.C.) is here.
The cables were released by WikiLeaks and widely disseminated by news organizations in November 2010. State denounced their release and publication, instructed its employees not to download them from the internet, prohibited attorneys for Guantanamo detainees from viewing them outside a secure government facility, and charged PFC Manning under the UCMJ for releasing them--even as it also declined to say whether they were authentic. According to the ACLU, the government's position--a "legal fiction"--has permitted government officials to evade liability for illegal conduct."
The ACLU filed a FOIA request for the cables on April 12, 2011, and sought expedited processing. The government rejected expedited processing and has yet to produce the cables.