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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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It's fine by me
By Beenthere on 2/7/2013 1:56:33 PM , Rating: -1
Due process my arse. It ain't like they go around whacking people who aren't documented terrorist. As usual the clueless and the media make a big deal out of nothing. That's why our security forces don't advertise their efforts to protect the U.S. because of the gullible, clueless, bleeding hearts who think you can stop terrorism by having a tea and crumpets social, ferchrissake.

Maybe we need another 3,000 innocent people killed before 10% of American's can buy a clue? What dumbarses many people in the U.S. are. They actually think passing gun control laws will keep whackjobs from killing people. How many guns were used on 9-11 to kill 3,000 people? I'm sure we don't want to confuse these idiots with logic or facts. They can't deal with the information overload that refutes their ignorance.

RE: It's fine by me
By Schrag4 on 2/7/2013 2:27:47 PM , Rating: 2
Due process my arse. It ain't like they go around whacking people who aren't documented terrorist.

Look, I don't want new gun control laws passed either, but the idea that we should give up OTHER liberties because of what happened on 9/11 is what many people don't like. It's the whole give-up-liberty-for-security-and-have-neither thing. What happens when those that don't want even more infringement on the second amendment, such as yourself, are classified as "terrorists?" They'd be documented, so is that good enough for you?

RE: It's fine by me
By Skywalker123 on 2/9/2013 1:54:32 PM , Rating: 2
they said there is no need for "clear evidence" much less documentation, you confused idiot.

RE: It's fine by me
By lexluthermiester on 2/11/2013 8:12:21 PM , Rating: 1
YOU are taking at us about cluelessness? This is a prime reason why irony is my favorite form of humor!

How many guns were used on 9-11 to kill 3,000 people?

None. And how many of those lives would have been saved had citizens rights to carry weapons on their person been respected? Very likely all of them. Because you see, if those terrorist had known that they would meet lethal opposition on those planes, they might not have tried, or at least would have a fight on their hands. No, your reasoning is as grossly flawed as the gun control movement.

But do carry on genius! These doltish gems are the stuff of wonderful jokes and laughter...

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki

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