Obama Creates Secret Panel to Choose Americans to be Killed
Friday, October 07, 2011
Nothing officially exists to legally justify its purpose or to record its decisions, but a secretive panel in the Obama White House does operate—and with the authority to recommend the assassination of Americans who side with terrorist organizations.
Operating as a component of the National Security Council, the death panel makes suggestions to the president on the targeting of terrorist threats to the U.S. When it comes to authorizing the killing of an American, “the role of the president in ordering or ratifying a decision to target a citizen is fuzzy,” according to Mark Hosenball, writing for Reuters.
The only American to date whose death was ordered by this process was Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Muslim cleric who allegedly had ties to al-Qaeda. Awlaki was killed on September 30 by a CIA drone strike in Yemen.
Some of President Barack Obama’s liberal supporters have been outraged by the creation of the national security death panel. To backers of Obama, the move is reminiscent of George W. Bush’s “expansive use of executive power” in his war on terror and represents a form of extra-judicial murder.
Conservatives have also criticized Obama, claiming his administration is sitting on a legal opinion from the Department of Justice that justified killing Awlaki. They add that Obama is a hypocrite for publishing Bush-era legal memos justifying the use of torture during detainees’ interrogations, while refusing to reveal its own rationale for killing a citizen without due process.
However, Obama has continued to hide from the public the most controversial of the Bush administration memos.
Secret Panel Can Put Americans on "Kill List' (by Mark Hosenball, Reuters)
First U.S. Citizen Added to CIA Assassination List (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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