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ACLU takes CIA to court as agency denies existence of drone programme

Despite references by president and defence secretary, CIA has refused FOIA request on grounds it cannot confirm drone use

Paul Harris in New York

guardian.co.uk

Leon Panetta and Martin Dempsey
US secretary of defence Leon Panetta has publicly acknowledged the drone programme’s existence. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The American Civil Liberties Union will go to court on Thursday in an attempt to get the CIA to hand over documents related to PresidentBarack Obama’s controversial “targeted killing” programme that uses unmanned drones to strike suspected Islamic militants.

The programme has been repeatedly referenced in public by numerous senior officials, including by Obama himself and defence secretary Leon Panetta, but the spy agency has refused to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request from the civil liberties group because it says it will not confirm the secretive use of drones.

As a result the ACLU has gone to court to argue that…

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