The administration defends its assassination program

Glenn Greenwald

In the wake of Leon Panetta’s public defense of the targeting of American citizens suspected (but never charged or convicted) of Terrorism, Obama officials are now apparently going around the country and, with chest-beating rhetoric, overtly defending their right to target Americans for assassination with no due process of any kind:

“If someone like Anwar al-Awlaki is responsible” for part of a plot “to kill more than 300 people over the city of Detroit,” [director of the National Counterterrorism Center Michael] Leiter said, “I think it would be wholly irresponsible for citizens like me, Leon Panetta, Defense Secretary (Robert) Gates, and ultimately the president, not to at least think about and potentially direct all the elements of national power to try to defend the American people” . . .

A woman in the crowd who identified herself as an American Civil Liberties Union member asked why there was no judicial review of such kill orders, citing the standard warrant requirements facing a policeman before entering a citizen’s home.

Leiter explained that while “a police officer does need a court order to go after a house,” the lawman “has a right of self-defense if someone pulls out a gun.”  The U.S. government, Leiter insisted, has the same right. He added that there is congressional oversight of such actions.

For several reasons, this is misleading in the extreme.  First, nobody disputes the military’s right (or the police’s) to use force if they seek to apprehend someone and that person begins shooting at them.  That situation has nothing whatsoever to do with the presidential assassination program, which authorizes targeted killings without any attempt at apprehension and no matter what the person is doing at the time…

The article continues at

Video from on YouTube.

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