A federal judge twice considered by President Barack Obama for the U.S. Supreme Court has rebuked his administration over the secrecy surrounding a program of aerial drone strikes abroad, adding to pressure Obama already faced from fellow Democrats.
A ruling on Friday from Judge Merrick Garland in Washington, D.C., capped a week of mounting calls for the release of more information.
The administration defends the attacks as essential to the fight against al Qaeda and other militants in such countries as Pakistan and Yemen. The strikes have at times killed civilians who were not targets, ignited local anger and frayed diplomatic ties.
A Democratic senator confronted Obama about his drone program during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, the newspaper Politico reported, and on Wednesday a lawyer who led Obama's 2008 presidential transition wrote an opinion piece accusing the administration of wrongly withholding drone-related legal opinions.