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In a 75-page decision issued on January 2, Judge Colleen McMahon of the Southern District of New York denied plaintiffs access to legal memos that support the Obama administration’s conduct of targeted attacks on suspected terrorists. Individuals killed in drone strikes include U.S. citizens. One set of plaintiffs, New York Times reporters Scott Shane and Charlie Savage, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. They sought copies of all Office of Legal Counsel opinions or memoranda since 2001 that address the legal status of targeted killing of people suspected of ties to terrorist groups. The other plaintiff, the American Civil Liberties Union, directed a FOIA request to the Justice Department but also to the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency. It requested copies of all records pertaining to the targeted killings of U.S. citizens.

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