Drone Program Legal Memo Released to Congress
The White House has apparently released legal memos justifying the killing of American citizens overseas as part of the US counter-terrorism campaign to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, see NYT report here. Note [update]: I should mention in case you haven’t followed this issue closely in the last 3-4 days that a DOJ white paper on the legal basis for the drone program, the unclassified summary of the OLC legal memo, if you will, was released earlier this week. The release of both the white paper and legal memo may be related to the fact that President Obama’s CIA Director nominee, John Brennan, has his confirmation hearings this week, see Lawfare coverage here.
Sinclair Supporters Out in Force
General Sinclair’s supporters are turning up the public relations campaign, see LA Times article here. This interesting tidbit from the LA Times article:
Neither the general, his wife nor lawyers are directly involved in the website, said Carreen Winters of MWW, a New York public relations firm hired by Sinclair’s supporters. Winters says the general’s military attorneys, unlike civilian lawyers, can’t mount a public defense in this very public case.
“The facts are his best friend,” Winters said in an email.
Benjamin Abel, an Army spokesman at Ft. Bragg, said it would be inappropriate to comment: “It is imperative that we let the military justice system work as it is designed to do, in court.”
I think it is a disservice to the clients they are representing that military defense counsel feel they can’t use the media to counter the government’s release of information to the media–and I am not blaming defense counsel, I think the services have fostered that belief. When General Sinclair was being investigated and charged the convening authority released information to the media, here and here, so why can’t military defense counsel? I see no ethical restrictions. AR 27-26 Rule 3.6 certainly doesn’t prohibit it.