The CIA wants to keep its lethal drones secret, but the Obama administration keeps touting their successes. The resulting conflict could shed more light on some of the dark arts of modern war.
On Thursday, a three-judge appellate panel sounded somewhat sympathetic to American Civil Liberties Union attorneys who seek CIA documents on the use of drones in targeted killings overseas. Until recently, the CIA has refused to admit even the existence of such documents.
“How would the mere acknowledgment that you have documents … disclose something that would harm national security interests?” asked Judge Merrick Garland during oral arguments.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery responded that while the CIA now concedes it possesses drone documents, the spy agency does not want to disclose “the number, nature and extent.”