Top lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee today asked President Obama to let the panel review all Justice Department documents pertaining to the legal justification of drone strikes on Americans overseas.
Earlier this week, the administration authorized the release of these memos to the House and Senate Intelligence committees, which are authorized to receive classified information, but has yet to provide them to the House Judiciary Committee, which is charged with DoJ oversight.
“The House Judiciary Committee’s jurisdiction in this area is clear and we believe that it is important that the legal justification for your targeted killings policy be analyzed by the Committee with the most familiarity in this area,” wrote the bipartisan group of lawmakers.
“…We therefore request that you direct the Justice Department to provide members of the House Judiciary Committee the opportunity to review all legal opinions relied upon by your administration related to the use of lethal force to target specific terror suspects or the broader use of signature strikes. Congress is perfectly equipped to confidentially handle sensitive information, and we are willing to discuss whatever safeguards you believe necessary to protect the information.”
Signing the letter were Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.); Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.); Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.); Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.); Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee Chairman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.); and Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).
The committee leaders asked that the requested documents be provided to the panel by close of business on Tuesday.
“We are disappointed that three prior requests to review these memoranda by members of the Committee have gone unanswered,” the lawmakers wrote. “We hope that you will reaffirm your commitment to transparency and openness by accommodating our request to review these documents. “