She added that the government thus could not be “compelled by this court of law to explain in detail the reasons why its actions do not violate the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
The judge continued: “The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful and extensive consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules.”
The FOIA lawsuits were filed in federal court in New York City on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union and two reporters with The New York Times. Among other documents, they requested a copy of a memorandum prepared by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
That’s the same office during the Bush administration that prepared a series of memos that offered legal justifications for harsh interrogation tactics. Critics denounced the documents as the torture memos.
President Obama announced at the beginning of his first term that his administration would no longer engage in controversial interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding. But the administration has significantly expanded the use of unmanned drone aircraft to carry out lethal attacks – including beyond the active war zone in Afghanistan.