The use of military force requires transparency. Protect Democracy asked the Departments of Justice, Defense, and State on Friday, February 26, 2021, for the expedited release of records related to the February 25 strike in Syria, including those about the Biden administration’s justification for it.
The FOIA requests argue for expedited processing given the timing and public interest in the activity. The strike meets the legal criteria involving “an urgency to inform the public” and “a matter of widespread and exceptional media interest [with] … possible questions about the government’s integrity that affect public confidence” for fast-tracked release.
As Protect Democracy has argued before—in 2020, about the strike that killed Iranian general Qassim Soleimani, and in 2017, about a strike on Shayrat Airbase—the President should be required to explain to the American people why he thinks he has the legal authority to use military force in their name.
“There can be no question that the President’s decision to initiate military action is of the utmost importance to the public. Similarly, whether the President has the legal authority to launch a military strike—or used military force without legal authorization—is a question that is fundamental to our democracy,” the requests from Friday read.
Read about Protect Democracy’s aforementioned work, as well as our bipartisan efforts to reinforce Congress’s authority over its constitutional war powers, here: https://protectdemocracy.org/project/release-the-war-powers-memos/