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Obama administration to release drone program ‘playbook’

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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration told a federal judge on Friday it is ready to make public a so-called playbook for the U.S. drone program.

The letter filed in court in New York comes following an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit.

The letter says the the government would make redactions to protect the identities of government officials who make decisions on whether to capture a suspect terrorist or to add them to a list to be targeted for killing.

The release of the Presidential Policy Guidance would mark a major addition to the public information known about the drone program. The letter also said the government plans to release less-redacted versions of Pentagon documents describing legal standards related to terrorist groups the U.S. is at war with.

“The release of the Presidential Policy Guidance is long overdue, and we are gratified that the administration has agreed with us that much of it should finally be made public,” said Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director. “We hope that the administration’s decision to release this critical document reflects a broader commitment to make the lethal drone program more transparent. In that spirit, the administration should also release the legal memos that are the foundation for the program, basic information about those killed in past drone strikes, and detailed investigative files relating to strikes that killed bystanders.”