The top members of the House Judiciary Committee are threatening to issue a subpoena for access to documents that the Obama administration used as legal justification for killing U.S. citizens who are suspected terrorists.
Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the committee chairman, and Democratic Rep. John Conyers, the ranking member, sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Wednesday demanding access to the memos and giving a deadline of Thursday evening for a deal to be reached, The Hill reported
The memos in question are from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and gives the administration’s position on targeting U.S. citizens suspected of being terrorists.
The issue was highlighted last month when Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky staged a 13-hour filibuster during confirmation hearings for CIA Director John Brennan until the administration stated its position on using drones against U.S. citizens on American soil.
The subpoena threat by the House Judiciary leaders comes after similar action by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
After Leahy demanded access to the same memos under threat of a subpoena, the Justice Department allowed members of the Senate panel to view the documents. Previously, the department had only provided access to the memos for members of the House and Senate intelligence committees.
“Members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have been provided an opportunity to review at least some of these opinions,” wrote Goodlatte, of Virginia, and Conyers, of Michigan. “Today, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were also given access to some, but not all, of the documents that we have requested. There is no reason why a similar bipartisan request from the House Judiciary Committee continues to go unanswered.”
NBC reported last month that the Justice Department had three tests for allowing a lethal strike against a U.S. citizen: that capture was not feasible, there was an imminent threat, and the strike was conducted according to the law.
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