U.S. citizens can be targetted and killed abroad, thanks to new legal framework - Macleans.ca

U.S. citizens can be targetted and killed abroad, thanks to new legal framework


If Americans living abroad are plotting an attack on the U.S., authorities can now legally kill them. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made the announcement yesterday, saying those colluding with al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization can be targeted “if there is an imminent threat to the United States and capturing them is not feasible,” Reuters reports.

This justification for extra-judicial killings comes just five months after the killing of Anwar al-Awaki, an American-born member of al Qaeda, in Yemen, in a drone attack. At the time, President Barack Obama and his administration had political, but not necessarily legal, justifications to offer civil liberties and human rights organizations who were uneasy with the assassination. This will no longer be a problem for the White House:

“Any decision to use lethal force against a United States citizen – even one intent on murdering Americans and who has become an operational leader of al Qaeda in a foreign land – is among the gravest that government leaders can face,” [Holder] said.

“The American people can be – and deserve to be – assured that actions taken in their defense are consistent with their values and their laws,” Holder said.

(…) Court approval for such strikes was unnecessary, he said, adding “the president may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign terrorist organization with which the United States is at war – even if that individual happens to be a U.S. citizen.”

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U.S. citizens can be targetted and killed abroad, thanks to new legal framework

  1. Good to know Macleans is on top of things, the National Defense Authorization Act which authorizes this (in complete disregard of the Constitution of course) was passed months ago.

  2. While I am no fan of Eric Holder and the Obama administration, I think they may be on the right track regarding this matter. A terrorist attack is considered to be an act of war on the US. It is the duty of the US government to protect it’s citizens from terrorists, no matter what their nationality.They MUST be met with what ever force is necessary to protect the citizens of this country.
    When a person such as Anwar al-Awaki openly promotes violence against the US, he gives up all rights as a US citizen and and is considered to be treasonous to the country and needs to be dealt with in whatever manner is appropriate.

    • Careful what you wish for. Given the developments south of the border it won’t be long before this is extended to terrorists with in the USA.
      Nobody gives up their rights as a human or a citizen ever. To advocate this shows you have as much regard for the traits that separate democracies from the terror states as those we are be fighting. Killing people because you fear them without evidence is wrong. If you keep traveling down that path then the terrorists win.
      In my mind the view you advocate makes you the same as al-Awaki.

  3. Cue the Left’s outrage at extra-judicial killings in violation of the Constitution in 3….2….1…oh wait, they don’t give a damn since it’s a Leftist who’s doing the killing.

  4. The USA has been dropping bombs and killing people worldwide for decades, what difference does this make.