Treasury, ACLU Still At Odds Over Al-Awlaki

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[Update, 5:21 p.m. EST Wednesday: the ACLU and CCR just got their license.]

On Tuesday, the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights sued the Obama administration. The two rights organizations hoped to obtain a permit that would allow them to sue on behalf of Anwar al-Awlaki, an alleged terrorist who is supposedly on a list of American citizens who the US government is trying to kill. Late last night, Politico‘s Josh Gerstein reported that the Treasury Department intends to give the ACLU and CCR the license they need to sue on al-Awlaki’s behalf. But the ACLU and CCR quickly issued a statement saying that it still hasn’t received that permission:

OFAC has neither issued a license nor stated that we don’t need one. It suggests that it might eventually grant us a license for our work, but our application has already gone unanswered for eleven days. OFAC is well aware that the case relates to the government’s decision to add a U.S. citizen to its ‘targeted killing’ list. To say that the matter is urgent is a dramatic understatement. Instead of issuing press releases, OFAC should simply issue us a license.

I just exchanged emails with two ACLU spokespeople, Laurie Beacham and Rachel Myers. The organization has still not received a license to represent al-Awlaki (who could be killed by a drone strike at any point)—just a “form letter saying they received our application,” Beacham says—”nothing responding to it.” Myers’ response was similar. “I don’t think Josh saw our statement before he wrote,” she says. “We stand by it.”


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