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  (Source: Reuters)
Classified document defines under what circumstances a death strike is warranted

The Senate Intelligence Committee will this morning receive a classified document that provides a more formalized version of the policies contained in a white paper memo -- "Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qa’ida or An Associated Force" -- which leaked to the press earlier this week.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) -- chairwoman of the committee -- cheered the release, commenting, "I am pleased that the president has agreed to provide the Intelligence Committee with access to the OLC (Office of Legal Counsel) opinion regarding the use of lethal force in counterterrorism operations.  It is critical for the committee's oversight function to fully understand the legal basis for all intelligence and counterterrorism operations."

The committee had already received the memo, but did not receive its more highly classified counterpart, which was responsible for actual policy decisions.

The Obama Administration looked to put a positive spin on the release, commenting, "Today, as part of the president's ongoing commitment to consult with Congress on national security matters, the president directed the Department of Justice to provide the congressional Intelligence committees access to classified Office of Legal Counsel advice related to the subject of the Department of Justice White Paper."

President Obama
President Obama says killing American terrorists without a warrant is the kind of "tough decision" you sometimes have to make. [Image Source: AFP/Getty Images]

The U.S. has to date killed over 28 al-Qaida terrorist leaders under the Bush and Obama administration using drone strikes.  Among those was U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a Sept. 2011 drone strike in Yemen.

The controversy over al-Awlaki's death was that no warrant or indictment had been issued against him. And while he was intimately involved with al-Qaida, U.S. intelligence did not indicate he was directly involved with a current terror plot.  The question was whether Mr. al-Awlaki received his Constitutionally guaranteed right to due process.

Despite the controversy, President Obama is finding some surprising support.  House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) agreed with his political foe this time, commenting, "[al-Awlaki was] somebody who had said that he didn't want his U.S. citizenship anymore.  He had officially joined al Qaeda.  Al Qaeda had declared war on the United States."

"The legal basis of this goes back many, many years when U.S. citizens would go and fight for foreign nations that were engaging in combat with the United States. So what they were saying is, once you've made that choice, you no longer get the protections that you would. I mean, if you join the enemy overseas, you join the enemy overseas. And we're going to fight the enemy overseas."

On Jon Stewart's Daily Show, President Obama indirectly defended the policy in a guest appearance, stating:

There are times where there are bad folks somewhere on the other side of the world, and you've got to make a call and it's not optimal.  And sometimes you've got to make some tough calls. But you can do so in a way that's consistent with international law and with American law.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) calls death strikes on Americans without indictments a "chilling" precedent.  They and the President's critics fear that the Obama administration or future administrations could arbitrarily label political enemies "terrorists" and target them with unconstitutional death strikes.
 

Reaper drones
Reaper drones are currently being used over U.S. airspace. [Image Source: The Real Revo]
 
The issue may be rectified if Congress steps in and pushes a more concrete definition of what constitutes a "terrorist".

Source: CNN



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RE: Due process is dead
By Saldrin on 2/7/2013 11:59:53 AM , Rating: 0
So we are protecting the rights of the terrorists and denying the rights of the victims. I guess it is ok if we go on a killing spree blowing up women and children but make sure that terrorists get 3 square a day and free cable TV.

If you openly and willfully renounce your citizenship and take up arms against your country you no longer deserve to gain benefits of that country.

Should we offer free medical Obamacare to the terrorists over seas too? Should we give them social security too when they retire?


RE: Due process is dead
By unsurehubris on 2/7/2013 12:09:09 PM , Rating: 5
I think the issue is we don't know for sure who is, and who isn't, a terrorist; especially when being viewed through the lens of a drone from thousands of miles away.

Do you expect the US to have perfect intelligence all the time, e.g. Iraq? Do you expect the decision maker to never make a mistake? The result isn't an "oops", it's the death of at least one innocent person. American citizen or not that result would be an injustice.

In the US we have a jury to prevent the proverbial "judge, jury, and executioner". I just think we need to be wary when a single person or administration yields this right without any oversight by the people representing that administration.


RE: Due process is dead
By TSS on 2/10/2013 10:50:17 AM , Rating: 2
Oh you definitly know who's a terrorist. Obama's one, for enabling infinite detention of americans, the senate and house as well, atleast all of them who voted for said legislation.

Then add the shareholders, board of directors and management of the 5 biggest banks in there for endangering the financial system more then the 9/11 terrorists ever did, by amassing $221 Trillion in derivates.

Throw insurers and big drug companies in there as well, since they will litteraly walk on corpses to get profit. The management of big food will probably go as well once it comes out how your food is actually made and how safety is skipped for profit.

The NRA as well, since it's one thing to allow abiding citizens to have guns but it's another to push guns into every corner of society just so the arms companies can get higher profits. Then you're just inviting mass shootings. Ban the handguns, allow the assault rifles, the bigger the better (far easyer to notice, and once the government comes for you concealment of the weapon isn't the problem anymore) and more importantly, allow a discussion of compromise, which there certainly isn't now.

Oh, almost forgot, the heads/shareholders of the 6-7 biggest national media networks in the US. Though i figure, if you take down the above you'll get most of those people anyway. Add them to the list though, just to be sure.

... Yeah i think that's about everybody who is causing systematic terror on a daily basis in the US right now. Well, aside from the population themselves going along with it. I'd think the best arguement for banning guns is the fact that 50% of all guns in the entire world are in the US right now, yet, nobody is taking them up against the government that's clearly, OBVIOUSLY, tyrranical. If guns could protect you from the government, they would've already.


RE: Due process is dead
By retrospooty on 2/10/2013 11:30:22 AM , Rating: 2
You are 100% right. Throw in pretty much every member of Congress and every president in the past at least 30 years... The FDA as well


RE: Due process is dead
By Ammohunt on 2/7/2013 12:17:58 PM , Rating: 2
Not saying i like it but what changed my mind was something that happened about 10 years ago with a dumbass family member(not a terrorist) who had an encounter with the Secret Service. Before any dialogue began they informed him that due process doesn't apply, effectively suspending his constitutional rights on the spot. So to suggest that this kind of thing only happens to pieces of trash in Yemen; make no mistake this type of power is and has been bandied about domestically for quite some time. Rights granted by the constitution are not subject to interference by government thats the whole point the rights laid out in that document were determined to exist in a vacuum government or no government terrorist or not.


RE: Due process is dead
By Piiman on 2/9/2013 10:01:48 AM , Rating: 2
Just because some law enforcement num nuts claims your right to due process don't apply doesn't make it so.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS and dont' believe everything law enforcement tells you. They are allowed to lie to get what they want from you. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS people!


RE: Due process is dead
By hero_of_zero on 2/9/2013 6:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
free medical Obamacare?How is it free by forcing everyone to buy health insurance from a corporation free?BTw was a repub idea for decades.
Then if they going to do target killing in a nation they are not at war with use a fin sniper not a fin missile that blows up n is made to do area damage .That be like saying it a ok for the cops to use rocket luncher or start chucking frag grenades in a crowd to kill the guy that robbed a bank or killed a cop etc.


"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein














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