Tell Senator Leahy: Demand release of Obama Administration's secret killing memos

Tell Senator Leahy: Demand release of Obama Administration's secret killing memos
Call Senator Patrick Leahy's Senate Judiciary Committee office: Tell him demand the Obama Administration to release secret memos justifying assassination programs.
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Call Senator Leahy: Demand that the Obama Administration release its secret memos on assassinating Americans.

Dear Friend,

Recently we asked CREDO Action members to demand that Attorney General Eric Holder release all secret documents the Obama Administration is using to justify its authority to kill American citizens without judicial review. So far more than 71,000 activists have signed our petition demanding that the Department of Justice (DOJ) release these documents.

We need to increase the pressure on the Department of Justice. The best way to do that is for Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to call for the release of those secret documents. Senator Leahy needs to hold Attorney General Holder accountable in public for his claim that the administration's secret assassination program (which does not include judicial review) offers American citizens targeted for death, due process under the Constitution.

Call Senator Leahy: Tell him to demand that the Obama Administration release the secret memos justifying its extra-judicial killing program. Click here for a simple script and the number to call.

Two of Senator Leahy's respected colleagues — Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall — have already weighed in on this issue by speaking up in support of the demands from our friends at American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for the release of the secret documents from the Obama Administration. Senators Wyden and Udall wrote to Eric Holder in a letter dated March 15, 2012 (emphasis added throughout):

[I]n a democratic society — in which the government derives its power from the consent of the people — citizens rightly expect that their government will not arbitrarily keep information from them. Americans expect their government to operate within the boundaries of publicly-understood law, and as voters they have a need and a right to know how the law is being interpreted, so that they can ratify or reject decisions made on their behalf. To put it another way, Americans know that their government will sometimes conduct secret operations, but they don't think that government officials should be writing secret law.1

A public demand from Senator Leahy for the Obama Administration to release all secret documents pertaining to the secret assassination program will provide added pressure for Attorney General Holder to release the memos. As the Chairman of the relevant Senate Committee, which has jurisdiction over these matters, Senator Leahy's statements and actions will generate much needed public scrutiny and honest debate around the Obama Administration's "power to kill."2

Call Senator Leahy: Tell him to demand that the Obama Administration release the secret memos justifying its extra-judicial killing program. Click here for a simple script and the number to call.

There is good reason to believe that Senator Leahy would heed our calls for transparency and accountability when many others in both parties have remained silent. In June of 2004, he spoke out against the Senate Republicans' blocking of the Democrats' efforts to obtain secret documents from the Bush Administration's Department of Justice related to prisoner abuse in scandal. The extrajudicial killing program targeting Americans is an even more egregious example of the Executive Branch using secret documents to justify constitutionally questionable programs in the name of national security.

Senator Leahy specifically scoffed at the notion of the Republican controlled Senate of the United States being "content to serve as an arm of the Executive Branch."3 We believe Senator Leahy will heed appeals from CREDO members urging him to apply the same principles of accountability and transparency to the Obama Administration as he did to the Bush Administration in 2004.

Call Senator Leahy: Tell him to demand that the Obama Administration release the secret memos justifying its extra-judicial killing program. Click here for a simple script and the number to call.

Your calls matter. Hina Shamshi, Director of the ACLU's National Security Project, emailed us the following note in appreciation of the pressure generated by CREDO members striving for honest and vigorous public debate:

There are few things as dangerous to American liberty as the authority our government is claiming: that it should be able to kill its own citizens anywhere in the world on the basis of legal standards and evidence that are never submitted to a court. Government authority so chilling and expansive must be subject to public scrutiny and debate, and that's why the ACLU has sued to obtain the government's legal memos justifying its claimed targeted killing authority. CREDO members' support for our transparency efforts makes a real difference because it increases pressure on the government to release these vitally important documents — we appreciate what you've done and continue to do.

Let's accelerate our campaign for accountability by urging Senator Leahy to support our cause today.

Thank you for speaking out in defense of our Constitution.

Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. Jameel Jaffer, "Sens. Wyden and Udall Weigh in on ACLU Patriot Act FOIA Case," ACLU, March 15, 2012.
2. New York Times Editorial, "The Power to Kill," The New York Times, March 10, 2012.
3. Senator Patrick Leahy, "Prisoner Abuse," Congressional Record, June 23, 2004, pp S7231-32.

© 2012 CREDO. All rights reserved.

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