Wednesday, a federal judge rejected The New York Times’ bid to force the U.S. government to disclose more information about its targeted killing of people it believes have ties to terrorism, including American citizens, a Reuters article reports.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan says the Obama administration did not violate the law by refusing the Times’ request for the legal justifications for targeted killings, a strategy the Times says was first contemplated by the Bush administration soon after 9/11, the article reports.

McMahon appeared reluctant to rule as she did, noting in her decision that disclosure could help the public understand the “vast and seemingly ever-growing exercise in which we have been engaged for well over a decade, at great cost in lives, treasure, and (at least in the minds of some) personal liberty,” Reuters reports.

However, she says that the government is not obligated to turn over materials the Times sought under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), even though it had such materials in its possession. McMahon added in her 68-page decision that “The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me.”

The newspaper and two reporters – Charlie Savage and Scott Shane – sued the government for details about the government’s drone program, and civil liberties groups have attacked the program as well.

The Times says it plans to appeal McMahon’s decision.