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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 Reclaimer77 on 2/7/2013 12:45:08 PM , Rating: 0
quote:
They aren't sending drones to go kill any enemy of the state.


Not yet. However if the Constitution and the due process of law is ignored, what assurances do we have that this wont be the case?

Dude no offense, and I'm not going Godwin here, but I'm sure a lot of Germans said the same thing around the 1930's as you are right now. Seriously, how can you be SO trusting? If you think you live in a world where things like this "can't happen", study history.

For the record I'm not even suggesting it will. But this IS a slippery slope, you cannot deny that, so why hammer someone for debating it?


RE: Due process is dead
By retrospooty on 2/7/2013 1:06:08 PM , Rating: 2
"Not yet. However if the Constitution and the due process of law is ignored, what assurances do we have that this wont be the case?"

None... But what assurances do we have that the govt. wont declare war on Peru and start bombing them? You cant be up in arms against something that someone didn't do. the govt. could bypass due process on anything at any time for any reason but you cant condemn something that didn't even happen.

"Dude no offense ..... I'm sure a lot of Germans said the same thing around the 1930's as you are right now"

None taken, or menat from my end... Its all good, this is a friendly debate. It's not like Apple was brought up ;)

The problem in Germany wasn't that the Nazi's came in to power and looked like they could potentially do something atrocious. The problem in Germany is that they DID perform many many many atrocities and no-one stopped them. If our govt does anything like that, I would be surprised, and outraged and WAY beyond furious.

"But this IS a slippery slope, you cannot deny that, so why hammer someone for debating it?"

Yes, it is... but no hammer, just a soft touch keyboard ;)


RE: Due process is dead
By Reclaimer77 on 2/7/13, Rating: -1
RE: Due process is dead
By retrospooty on 2/7/2013 1:36:32 PM , Rating: 2
No, I am over that guy. I voted for him in 2008 and was thoroughly fed up by 2011. I did not vote for him this time. I just think there so many things he has done awful with regards to the economy that it's inexcusable. His foreign policy has actually been okay. I just don't think we're going to see drone attacks on anyone that isn't an obvious terrorist.I certainly hope not.


RE: Due process is dead
By M'n'M on 2/7/2013 3:10:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I just don't think we're going to see drone attacks on anyone that isn't an obvious terrorist.I certainly hope not.

Imagine a slightly different scenario. There's an unpopular war going on. You protest it. You go to the other sides capitol city and are photo'ed sitting on one of their weapons. Are you now a combatant ? Have you joined the other side ? You're probably unpopular with whatever party is in power at the time. Should the President have sole authority to deem you worthy of killing ? And not by a drone, just by an assassin using whatever means he can, perhaps whereever he can ? Because IIRC the AG has said the "battlefield" is anyplace in the war on terror. What was once clear, being a soldier on the battlefield is no longer clear, at least in the legal terms. That should concern anyone.


RE: Due process is dead
By retrospooty on 2/7/2013 3:22:45 PM , Rating: 2
"Imagine a slightly different scenario. There's an unpopular war going on. You protest it. You go to the other sides capitol city and are photo'ed sitting on one of their weapons. Are you now a combatant ? Have you joined the other side ? You're probably unpopular with whatever party is in power at the time. Should the President have sole authority to deem you worthy of killing ?"

No, of course not, but that isn't what happened. If someone just spoke out against the govt or even was seen with enemies doesn't make them enemies. Al-Awlaki is a known terrorist that conspired and even helped the 9/11 hijeckers. He's not just a guy who was seen with the wrong people, he is a member of Al Qaeda and is an accomplice to the murder of thousands of innocent people.

"And not by a drone, just by an assassin using whatever means he can, perhaps wherever he can ?"

You say that as if this doesn't already go on and hasnt for the past (at least) 50 years. If the US govt. Wants you dead, you're basically going to die... The only thing new here, is drones that can get to you faster if your found.


RE: Due process is dead
By M'n'M on 2/7/2013 5:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No, of course not, but that isn't what happened. If someone just spoke out against the govt or even was seen with enemies doesn't make them enemies. Al-Awlaki is a known terrorist that conspired and even helped the 9/11 hijeckers.

In this case, yes. I'm not worried about Al-Awlaki but the kind of power this grants to the Executive branch and who will misuse it the future. Consider what happened with civil asset forfeiture laws during the drug wars of the 80's. No-one was concerned when it was the dealers who lost their cars, homes, cash. Then it became the odd citizens who became victims. Not that long ago NYC was talking about seizing the cars of people accused of DUI and not returning them, independent of any trial results ... indeed no need for any trial. The accusation was enough.

My point is Govt is always looking for ways to expand it's powers, not do do evil, but to "get the bad guy". Far too often the rights of the ordinary guy get lost in that zeal. I see no need to have people assassinated in borderline cases due to that zeal and then have the deep thinking done then, that should be have been before now. We have divided Govt for a good reason.


RE: Due process is dead
By retrospooty on 2/8/2013 8:02:40 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, it is scary... But the truth is, if the US govt. decides they want you dead, you are dead. This isnt new its been going on at least 1/2 a century, the only new thing here is the tech. Where a human resource would have gone in an killed a target, there is now an explosive drone, which of course leaves obvious evidence... So in the end.

1. If the govt wants someone dead and they are a publicly acceptable target like Al-Awlaki - Drone strike.

2. If the govt wants someone dead and they are NOT a publicly acceptable target - The old methods...

See my point?


RE: Due process is dead
By Reclaimer77 on 2/8/13, Rating: 0
RE: Due process is dead
By retrospooty on 2/8/2013 9:49:42 AM , Rating: 1
I am not saying its right, or that I agree, but it's nothing new. The govt. does all sorts of secretive bastard shit and always has.

I don't think its wrong to discuss their power and our rights, of course not, and I don't think its right that the govt just does what it wants... I am just saying, we can talk all we want and debate all we want, the govt is still going to do what it does. And as far as this drone thing, its just window dressing, as the govt already does what it wants and will continue to do so.


RE: Due process is dead
By nrhpd527 on 2/11/2013 10:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There's an unpopular war going on. You protest it. You go to the other sides capitol city and are photo'ed sitting on one of their weapons. Are you now a combatant ? Have you joined the other side ? You're probably unpopular with whatever party is in power at the time. Should the President have sole authority to deem you worthy of killing ?


Well, if we can invent a time machine and use it to do this to Jane Fonda in Hanoi, I'm ok with it that ONE time...


RE: Due process is dead
By Reclaimer77 on 2/8/2013 9:05:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
His foreign policy has actually been okay.


Yup. Hey I hear there's an US Ambassador position open now. Want the job? Great benefits and protection, Obama totally has your back! :)

Sorry couldn't resist lol, too easy.


RE: Due process is dead
By retrospooty on 2/8/2013 9:18:53 PM , Rating: 2
LOL +1


RE: Due process is dead
By Piiman on 2/9/2013 10:34:14 AM , Rating: 2
lol -10

Like no huge goverment branch has ever made a mistake?
I seem to remember other ambassadors being killed in the past before Obama so quit acting like this has happened only on Obama's watch.
"too easy"?
Try thinking a little and it may be more complicated than your silly little "I hate Obama" mind can comprehend.


RE: Due process is dead
By retrospooty on 2/9/2013 11:28:32 AM , Rating: 2
Chill out man. I was LOLing at a funny, not making a political statement. I dont hate Obama, specifically on foreign policy. Other than the economy, I think he is doing pretty well.


RE: Due process is dead
By Reclaimer77 on 2/9/2013 4:23:28 PM , Rating: 2
First off to call this a "mistake" is absurd.

We now know the Ambassador felt there was a credible threat, and made repeated requests for extra security. And those were denied and ignored for political reasons. 100% fact.

Yes Ambassadors have been killed in the past, and that's always tragic. But make no mistake, those Americans were simply hung out to dry and sacrificed so this President wouldn't appear to be hostile to Muslims, or whatever his rationale is.

Also for two weeks after Benghazi, the public was told this was a random act of mob violence because of an "anti-Islamic" movie someone made. Another lie. They knew the ENTIRE TIME this was a deliberate planned terrorist attack. They even knew beforehand that extra security was called for, and did not act.

These are facts, nobody is even disputing these facts. Maybe it's you who should try some critical thinking?

This is just par for the course for this Administration. Nobody is to blame. Nobody is forced to give an answer to the people. Nobody is made to tell the truth. Hillary Clinton basically said "hey, sh$t happens", and that's just good enough for the media and all you sheep.

Where is the anger? Where is the leadership? Where is the message that attacking and killing Ambassadors and US citizens is not acceptable, even If you were angry about some "movie"? There's NO leadership coming from our "leaders" on this at all. And like most of your type, you're strangely fine with all this.

You're a pitiful excuse for a human, I spit on you that you can boil all this down to "Obama hate".


RE: Due process is dead
By retrospooty on 2/10/2013 8:57:53 AM , Rating: 2
Dood, as much as piiman is passing it off as a mistake, you are piling on as if its the biggest blunder in foreign policy history. You sound like Fox news, making every little thing into a huge issue. FFS, mistakes happen. You cant respond to every threat, people die. Its not the fault the president when an embassy is overrun. Hell Bush ignored many credible warnings and 911 happened. It's not his fault, its the fault of the murderous asses that did it. There are plenty of real things to attack Obama on about the economy and spending/debt. To blow things like this out of proportion just isnt necessary.


RE: Due process is dead
By Reclaimer77 on 2/10/2013 7:10:05 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
There are plenty of real things to attack Obama on about the economy and spending/debt.


Yes and you went to GREAT lengths defending Obama on THAT issue in the past too. Admit it, you cannot abide ANY criticism of this President.

You voted for the man, you did. Not me. You sound like one of those Apple guys defending their purchase to the last breath. Just admit you suck at politics, make poor decisions, and move on.

quote:
Hell Bush ignored many credible warnings and 911 happened.


....

Amazing. Going on 5 years now and you just cannot question Obama without the "blame Bush" card being used!!!

And are you seriously suggesting that ANYTHING could have been done to stop 911 with the information he had? You people act like he had a specific time, date, and plan of attack all spelled out. But just dropped the ball. Give me a goddamn break!

Sure I guess he could have stopped all air traffic in the country for a month or so. That would have stopped 911, but...

Argh I can't even believe you drew me into that absurd argument. You bring up Bush AND Fox News?? Seriously? Just fuck you. That is getting SO tired. You will NOT shut me up with that tactic.


RE: Due process is dead
By retrospooty on 2/11/2013 7:37:02 AM , Rating: 2
"Yes and you went to GREAT lengths defending Obama on THAT issue in the past too. Admit it, you cannot abide ANY criticism of this President."

You say that right after I said my own critisicm of Obama and his piss poor handling of the economy??? OK. What is it about politics that riles you up so much and makes you throw logic and objectivity out the window in favor of criticizing anything and everything the other side does?

"You voted for the man, you did. Not me."

I told you, I voted for him in 08. in the 12 election I voted for Romney, because I think Obama has done a poor job.

"Amazing. Going on 5 years now and you just cannot question Obama without the "blame Bush" card being used And are you seriously suggesting that ANYTHING could have been done to stop 911"

That isnt at all what I am saying. Did you not read my post? I was saying blaming Obama for every little thing that happens overseas is "like" blaming Bush for 911. Neither was thier faults. I was defending BUSH

But yes, piling on a non issue, you do remind me of Fox news. Dood, get some perspective. You are posting out of anger, and not even reading what you are posing against.


RE: Due process is dead
By Piiman on 2/9/2013 10:23:20 AM , Rating: 2
"None taken, or menat from my end... Its all good, this is a friendly debate. It's not like Apple was brought up ;)"

Well I'm pretty sure those drones are powered by iOS and an iPhone. :-)


RE: Due process is dead
By ppardee on 2/7/2013 1:09:14 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, come on, Reclaimer, you can't go comparing the United States with Nazi Germany. The Nazis gathered up people who hadn't committed any crimes because of their race, confiscated their property and shipped them to concentration camps. It's not like the US ever did anything remotely like that.

Oh. Wait. We did. Nevermind. Carry on.


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