The U.S. did not violate the constitution or other laws by killing American citizen Anwar Awlaki in Yemen without due process of law, the Justice Department argues in a previously secret memoir release by a federal court Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The memo was written in 2010, a year before a U.S. drone strike killed Awlaki.
The documents were released after the ACLU and New York Times sued.
The memo is unusual because it advocates killing of an American citizen without the opportunity of due process. It was written by former Obama Justice Department official David Barron
“In the present circumstances, as we understand the facts, the U.S. citizen in question has gone overseas and become part of the forces of an enemy with which the United States is engaged in an armed conflict; that person is engaged in continual planning and direction of attacks upon U.S. persons from one of the enemy’s overseas bases of operations; the U.S. government does not know precisely when such attacks will occur; and a capture operation would be infeasible,” Barron wrote.
Posted: June 24th, 2014 under News Story.
Tags: ACLU, Anwar Awlaki, drone strike, due process, FOIA, Justice Department, NYT
Did a CIA tip lead to Neslon Mandela’s 1962 arrest and subsequent 27 years of imprisonment in South Africa?
A Ph.D. candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ryan Shapiro, filed suit Tuesday against the NSA, FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency for failing to turn over records with a Freedom of Information Act Request, the Huffington Post reports.
Shapiro is investigating the extent to which the U.S. played a role in Mandela’s arrest
“The failure of the NSA, FBI, DIA, and CIA to comply with my FOIA requests for records on Mandela highlights that FOIA is broken and that this sad reality is just one component among many of the ongoing crisis of secrecy we now face,” Shapiro told The Huffington Post.
Posted: March 26th, 2014 under News Story.
Tags: CIA, DIA, FBI, FOIA, Nelson Mandela, NSA
The FBI has finally confirmed that a civil rights activist who disappeared while supporting Native Americans in South Dakota four decades was murdered, the Buffalo News reports.
Roy Robinson went missing after arriving at Wounded Knee to support the American Indian Movement’s fight against the federal government.
The discovery wasn’t easy for his wife, Cheryl Robinson.
Two lawyers were forced to file Freedom of Information Act requests to access the information, which shows the FBI suspected AIM was behind the murder.
“They confirm the rumors that have been floating out there for years,” said Michael Kuzma, one of the Robinson family’s lawyers. “The only missing part of the puzzle is where Ray’s buried.”
Posted: February 18th, 2014 under News Story.
Tags: AIM, civil rights, FBI, FOIA, Native Americans, South Dakota, wounded knee
A confidential Justice Department legal opinion on the extent of the FBI’s surveillance authority does not have to be released to the public, a federal appeals court ruled, the Washington Post reports.
The January 2010 memo gave the FBI permission to gather phone call records from telecommunications companies.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the memo was not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
“The District Court correctly concluded that the unclassified portions of the OLC Opinion could not be released without harming the deliberative processes of the government by chilling the candid and frank communications necessary for effective governmental decision-making,” the court said in its opinion written by D.C. Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards.
Posted: January 6th, 2014 under News Story.
Tags: DOJ, FBI, FOIA, Justice Department, phone tapping, US Court of Appeals, wire tapping
New documents reveal more about the FBI’s cell phone surveillance group, which has the technology to listen to anyone’s calls, Slate reports.
The surveillance method was revealed in new documents received by the civil rights group, Electronic Privacy Information Center, using the Freedom of Information Act.
The technology, most commonly referred to as “Stingrays” are portable surveillance transceivers that trick phones into transferring onto a fake network, Slate wrote.
The FBI maintains it uses the phones to track information of individual suspects, but the group believes the surveillance may violate the federal Communications Act because it interferes with the cellphone signals.
Posted: October 9th, 2013 under FBI, News Story.
Tags: cell phone surveillance, civil rights, Electronic Privacy Information Center, FOIA, freedom of information act
In the six hours before radical American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki entered the Pentagon for a luncheon in February 2002, he was being tracked by the FBI’s elite surveillance unit, Fox News reports.
Records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show the bureau’s Special Surveillance Group trailed al-Awlaki, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
Fox News wrote that al-Awlaki was delivering a controversial religious lecture to Defense Department officials after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The surveillance didn’t reveal much, Fox News reported, but it raised questions about whether the FBI saw al-Awlaki as an asset before the U.S. killed him nine years later.
Posted: September 13th, 2013 under FBI, News Story.
Tags: anwar al-Awlaki, defense department, FOIA, freedom of information act, Muslim cleric, radical cleric, Special Surveillance Group, US drone strike, Yemen
The FBI continues to investigate Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings, who died in a car crash in June, for “controversial reporting,” Al Jazeera America reports.
The bureau opened a file on Hastings on June 11, 2012 “to memorialize controversial reporting by Rolling Stone magazine on June 7, 2012,” according to records obtained by the news agency in a FOIA request.
The story, called “America’s Last Prisoner of War,” featured a lengthy investigation about U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban in June 2009.
Details of the investigation remain fuzzy, but the FBI documents describe Hastings’ store as igniting “a media frenzy, speculating about the circumstances of [redacted] capture, and whether U.S. resources and effort should continue to be expended for his recovery.”
Posted: September 10th, 2013 under FBI, News Story.
Tags: America's Last Prisoner of War, Bowe Bergdahl, controversial reporting, FBI, FOIA, Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone
The FBI is releasing dozens of investigative files involving civil rights-era photographer Ernest Withers as part of a lawsuit with The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Tenn., CNN reports.
Among the files is an investigation of Martin Luther King Jr. while in Memphis in 1968, CNN reported.
The bureau also examined the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and peace and black power movements.
The files are expected to shed light on how deeply the FBI probed the lives of civil rights leaders.
The newspaper won the right to examine the records after reaching a settlement under the Freedom of Information Act.
Posted: February 26th, 2013 under FBI, News Story.
Tags: civil rights, FBI, FOIA, MLK, naacp