The U.S. government wants to give the public less information about its legal justification for using drones to kill Americans suspected of terrorism overseas.

The Justice Department, Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency made the request late Thursday to a federal appeals court in Manhattan.

The government says there could be "exceptionally grave harm to national security" if it cannot make further redactions in a document that a court ordered released in April.

The case relates to a Freedom of Information request by The New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union. Lawyers for the Times and ACLU said Friday that the government's continued delays regarding the document are cheating the public of a fully informed and fair debate over the issue.