Court releases memo justifying drone strike on US cleric

This image released on December 20, 2011 by SITE Intelligence Group shows a clip from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) focusing on slain Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-AwlakiA New York court on Monday released an edited version of a secret government memo legally justifying a drone attack that killed a US citizen, radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, in Yemen in 2011. The federal appeals court released the document following a lawsuit from The New York Times and American Civil Liberties Union demanding to know the basis for the killing of three Americans. So-called “targeted killings” are the leading tactic in the US war on suspected terrorists in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, but activists say the assassination program is too secret and lacks legal limits. Awlaki’s teenage son, Abdul Rahman, was killed in a separate US drone strike in Yemen in October 2011.

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