The Obama administration has invoked the state secrets privilege to block a lawsuit on behalf of US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an alleged terrorist said to be targeted for assassination.
The Obama administration on Saturday invoked the state secrets privilege which would kill a lawsuit on behalf of U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an alleged terrorist said to be targeted for assassination under a US government program.
In a court filing, the Justice Department said that the issues in the case are for the executive branch of government to decide rather than the courts.
The department also said the case entails information that is protected by the military and state secrets privilege.
The courts have sufficient grounds to throw out the lawsuit without resorting to use of the state secrets privilege, the Justice Department said in its filing.
"The idea that courts should have no role whatsoever in determining the criteria by which the executive branch can kill its own citizens is unacceptable in a democracy," the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement. "In matters of life and death, no executive should have a blank check."
Al-Awlaki's father, through the CCR and the ACLU, filed the case in federal court in Washington.
The father has demanded that the government disclose a wide variety of classified information which could harm U.S. national security, Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.