CIA uses secret drones to kill terrorist suspects

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal appeals court judges are questioning the CIA’s efforts to block information on the use of unmanned drones to kill suspected terrorists.

A lower court federal judge sided with the CIA last year, dismissing a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking records about the use of drones. In response to an ACLU Freedom of Information Act request, the CIA refused to confirm or deny the existence of responsive records.

The ACLU counters that several high-ranking officials, from then-CIA Director Leon Panetta to President Barack Obama, have publicly acknowledged the use of drones.

Judge Merrick Garland suggested at a hearing Thursday that a speech this year by President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, amounted to an official acknowledgment of the CIA drone program.