President Obama has agreed to give Congress’ intelligence committees the legal rationale for the administration’s targeted killings of American terror suspects overseas. But don’t count on that information going public.
In an off-camera briefing Thursday morning, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the disclosure was a “specific and unique accommodation” to keep certain lawmakers apprised of the rules for the administration’s secretive drone program. In other words, the American public — at least for now — will be kept largely in the dark on the most controversial provisions of the covert war.
Civil liberties groups have said that standard doesn’t mesh with the president’s previous commitment to transparency. Obama agreed to give the intelligence committees the legal documents after some lawmakers threatened to block the nomination of John Brennan, the architect of the drone campaign and Obama’s nominee to lead the CIA.
Brennan’s confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill will start at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.