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Feds can hide rationale for killing U.S. citizen, judge rules

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A Bay Area federal judge says the Obama administration can keep secret a memo spelling out the legal rationale for a 2011 drone attack in Yemen that killed a U.S. citizen and alleged terrorist mastermind.

The Justice Department was entitled to withhold the memo on the grounds of national security and lawyer-client confidentiality, Chief U.S. District JudgeClaudia Wilken of Oakland said Friday.

Although U.S. Attorney General Eric Holderand other Obama administration officials have made public statements justifying drone strikes, Wilken said none of them was specific enough for her to rule against the government’s claim of secrecy and require officials to disclose the legal rationale for the Yemen attack.

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