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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 othercents on 2/7/2013 12:40:53 PM , Rating: 1
In this case yes, however this would require people to be able to trust the judgement of the President based on the classified information he was provided, which we don't know. I understand that there is some animosity towards the President from certain groups of people. While I don't agree with the majority of what he has done, I do agree that with ample evidence to backup the reasoning for a strike including reasoning for not capturing this individual that the strike was warranted. The oversight at this point is proving after the fact that he acted in the best interest of the country and in accordance to constitutional law.

Capturing this individual was not an option due to the distress of the country of Yemen during that time, so in reality if the person was known to be in France then we would have captured them and brought them back to face trial which might have been a military trial if there was evidence that they were working for the al-Qaida (mostly likely a confession). Lacking this option and with a number of grievances against this individual an airstrike was the only option.


RE: Due process is dead
By Ammohunt on 2/7/2013 2:27:35 PM , Rating: 2
This was a cut and dry assassination of an American citizen. At the time it was hard to determine if he was much of a threat to warrant a death sentence in such a fashion. Also what wasn't mention was the two other Americans that were also killed in this operation his 16 year old son and his sons friend. What were their crimes? we will never know because the executive branch acting as judge jury and executioner blew them all to hell before they could be tried. I am all for the death sentence but this is an egregious abuse of power and is just another part of the track record of this administration to crap on the constitution.

RE: Due process is dead
By MrBlastman on 2/7/2013 3:45:31 PM , Rating: 4
What makes me upset is there is this growing belief in society that if it is for the greater good, then it is okay.

The problem is not the definition of "the greater good" but whether or not the act respects our Constitution or not. The difficulty we are having, though, is the multitude of younger people that believe the document is antiquated and outdated, needing revision.

This begets the course our nation is taking, or, more appropriately labeled, "wrong turn."

I think what has happened is those within our walls have become far too comfortable with everything heroes before them have died for. Forgotten heroes that sacrificed their lives so they can sit around all day saying the Constitution is garbage and the Europeans have it better. Misguided ideals that have been fed to them through our institutionalized brainwashing system, otherwise known as public schools.

So right now we might be discussing how this 16-year old son was murdered (he was) by a sitting president, without any trial, jury or motive other than a "hunch." Yet, the evidence was discovered after the fact. To us, now, that is relevant. However, the danger we face is years from now the Constitution or our laws being re-written by tyrants (hidden in the guise of benevolence) and thus, washed from the books and completely forgotten.

The boy was murdered. His dad was murdered. Yeah, now we know they were up to no good but never in the past has it been acceptable to shoot someone because "they look funny" and then afterwards go, "See! I told you so!" and get away with it. If a normal citizen walked up to another and killed them on the street they'd be thrown in prison or executed. If the president does it, what happens?

They come up with excuses. Excuses that are unchallenged by a lacksidaisical public too busy with their stuff to care.

After all, they still have their stuff, their money and their pathetic material pursuits. The president must be doing good, right?

I worry what our nation will look like a few decades from now. Thankfully I have a daughter that I can pass the truth on to. My challenge will be keeping this truth in her head when the youth and teachers around her try and extract, bend and modify it for the "better."

The president should be held accountable. He should be brought to trial and possibly executed like any other common criminal. Under the laws of our Constitution and by the rule of law--no other way will have as big an impact as thus.

I don't think our people have the clout to do that anymore though.

RE: Due process is dead
By othercents on 2/7/2013 5:05:25 PM , Rating: 2
So now the question is if the person was a citizen. Since the constitution only address the general idea of natural citizenship in the 14th Amendment, the Immigration and Nationality Act specifically states how one becomes a citizen and how one can lose their citizenship. The question now becomes, who determines someone is no longer a citizen and was that process followed and can that be determined as due process?

Once you are no longer a citizen you fall under international law. Another question is if a rocket into a crowd of people is the correct response to kill one person. Obviously it would be better if we used other means to take out a single target without the extra casualties.

BTW. The 16 year old was a casualty of war, not someone targeted. He happened to be with a group of people where someone was a target.

RE: Due process is dead
By hero_of_zero on 2/9/2013 5:44:51 PM , Rating: 2
"BTW. The 16 year old was a casualty of war, not someone targeted. He happened to be with a group of people where someone was a target."

I never knew the USA at war with Yemen.I know Yemen getting paid per day for the USA to go blowing sh1t up in there btw.Funny seems like the usa only 1 to my current memory that can be allowed on other nation lands n kill people in the open with their military and not even be at war with the said nation.
Man going to be fun when china get in the game of playing this war on terror and flying shit in in other nations and openly killing people when they not even at war with the nations they are blowing people up in .

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