The New York Times filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice on Thursday, in an attempt to obtain more information about the legal justification behind the killing of U.S.-born jihadist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. He was killed by a U.S. drone strike in the mountains of Yemen in late September.
Al-Awlaki's death raised questions about targeted killings, particularly that of a U.S. citizen. According to the Associated Press, the Obama administration's top national security lawyers said, "U.S. citizens are legitimate military targets when they take up arms with al-Qaida."
The Times has reportedly requested the DOJ release at least one legal memo that outlines "the scope of the circumstances in which it is lawful for government officials to employ targeted killing as a policy tool." According to Courthouse News Service, the Times stated that the paper wanted to review the "secret memo" that was the topic of a September 30th Washington Post article.
The paper reportedly previously filed Freedom of Information Act requests, asking the DOJ to release documents about the legal justification behind al-Awlaki's death, but those requests were reportedly denied.