Justice Department Memo: al-Awlaki Assassination Legal


It didn’t take long after a U.S. drone killed Al Qaeda propagandist and Internet preacher Anwar al-Awlaki yesterday for civil liberties advocates and administration critics to come out of the woodwork lambasting the seemingly routine use of targeted assassinations in the war on terror. This case has attracted particular attention because Awlaki was a U.S. citizen, at one time spending several years in San Diego pursuing graduate studies and, it seems, getting picked up by the police while soliciting prostitutes. As for the Obama administration’s policy, it will get a second dose of scrutiny now that the Washington Post has revealed the existence of a secret Justice Department memo authorizing the assassination and dismissing Awlaki’s Fifth Amendment rights to legal protection. As one administration official put it: “What constitutes due process in this case is a due process in war.”

Secret U.S. memo sanctioned killing of Aulaqi [WP]