WASHINGTON – A federal judge Friday dismissed a lawsuit against Obama administration officials for the 2011 drone-strike killings of three U.S. citizens in Yemen, including an al-Qaida cleric.
U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said the case raises serious constitutional issues and is not easy to answer, but that “on these facts and under this circuit’s precedent,” the court will grant the Obama administration’s request.
Permitting a lawsuit against individual officials “under the circumstances of this case would impermissibly draw the court into ‘the heart of executive and military planning and deliberation,’ ” said Collyer. She said the suit would require the court to examine national security policy and the military chain of command as well as operational combat decisions regarding the designation of targets and how best to counter threats to the United States.
“Defendants must be trusted and expected to act in accordance with the U.S. Constitution when they intentionally target a U.S. citizen abroad at the direction of the president and with the concurrence of Congress,” said Collyer.