(MintPress) – President Obama has moved to keep the kill list hidden from the public forever, the latest evasive measure aimed keeping the details of target drone killings permanently confined to the executive branch. This opposes efforts by members of both the House and Senate wanting to hear more about extrajudicial attacks executing Americans suspected of terrorist activity without trial or due process of law.
This reverses an earlier promise by Obama to share information regarding the drone program with the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) confirmed this agreement in a statement earlier this month, saying, “I am pleased that the president has agreed to provide the Intelligence Committee with access to the OLC (Office of Legal Counsel) opinion regarding the use of lethal force in counterterrorism operations.”
John Brennan, President Obama’s hand-picked nominee to head the Central Intelligence Committee, helped create the kill list authorizing drones to illegally execute individuals suspected of being involved in terrorist activities.
Concerning for civil liberties advocates is Brennan’s possible support for future drone strikes on U.S. soil targeting U.S. citizens. Assassinations violate international law and U.S. national legislation that upholds due process of law in civilian courts for U.S. citizens. Brennan previously supported the use of torture against detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison during the Bush administration.
A final vote on Brennan’s nomination has been delayed until the end of February at the behest of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and others who want more details about the September 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Information about drone attacks, generally, and the kill list, specifically, has been released piecemeal to the public, remaining mostly hidden by the Obama administration.
On Tuesday, Senator Graham became the first elected official to mention the numbers killed during U.S. drone attacks during a public speech at the Easley Rotary Club in South Carolina.
“We’ve killed 4,700. Sometimes you hit innocent people, and I hate that, but we’re at war, and we’ve taken out some very senior members of al-Qaeda,” said Graham. These figures roughly correspond to estimates made by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism based in London, an organization that has tracked the numbers killed during U.S. drone operations in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia since 2004.