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ACLU Releases Obama's Once-Secret Policy On Drone Strikes

A U.S. airman guides a US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone as it taxis to the runway at Kandahar airfield in March.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says President Barack Obama’s administration has released a redacted version of Obama's once-secret policy on drone strikes in foreign countries.

The release of the 18-page Presidential Policy Guidance document follows a lawsuit filed in 2015 under the Freedom of Information Act.

A U.S. District Court judge ordered the U.S. Justice Department in February to disclose the document, which also is known as The Playbook.

It sets out the law and rules the government must follow when carrying out targeted killings.

Published by the ACLU on August 6, the document says strikes against high-value terrorist targets can be taken "when there is near certainty" the person is present, and that no civilians will be injured or killed.

Drone strikes also must be deemed necessary to "achieve U.S. policy objectives."

The Obama administration says its use of drones is essential to fighting Al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP