The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, filed a Freedom of Information Act request against the CIA to divulge information about the drone program. The CIA denied the request. The ACLU took the CIA to court, hoping to force the release of documents to the public about the controversial program.
A lower court sided with the CIA, claiming the agency did not have to confirm or deny the existence of the drone program. The federal appeals court reversed that ruling on Friday, siding with the ACLU.
In the ruling, Chief Judge Merrick Garland wrote,
It is neither logical nor plausible for the CIA to maintain that it would reveal anything not already in the public domain to say the Agency at least has an intelligence interest in such strikes. The defendant is, after all, the Central Intelligence Agency.
In this case, the CIA has asked the courts to stretch that doctrine too far — to give their imprimatur to a fiction of deniability that no reasonable person would regard as plausible.
The public has been aware of the drone program since 2008, despite Obama administration denials of its existence.
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