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NBC EXCLUSIVE: Justice Department Memo Reveals Legal Case for Drone Strikes on Americans
NBC News ^ | Monday, February 4, 2013 | Michael Isikoff

Posted on 02/04/2013 6:29:12 PM PST by kristinn

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.

SNIP

But the confidential Justice Department “white paper” introduces a more expansive definition of self-defense or imminent attack than described by Brennan or Holder in their public speeches. It refers, for example, to what it calls a “broader concept of imminence” than actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the U.S. homeland.

SNIP

“A lawful killing in self-defense is not an assassination,” the white paper reads. “In the Department’s view, a lethal operation conducted against a U.S. citizen whose conduct poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States would be a legitimate act of national self-defense that would not violate the assassination ban. Similarly, the use of lethal force, consistent with the laws of war, against an individual who is a legitimate military target would be lawful and would not violate the assassination ban.”

(Excerpt) Read more at openchannel.nbcnews.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 16yroldamerican; benevolentdrones; cw2; domesticdroneattack; domesticdrones; droneassasins; drones; dronestrikes; enemiesofobama; enemywithin; habeascorpus; johnbrennan; killingamericans; obama; obamakilllist; obamalegacy; obamascandals; obamunism; orwelliannightmare; policestate; pravdamedia; subverthabeascorpus; teaparty; threatmatrix; traitor; treason; usdrones; waronamericans
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(In)coming to a Tea Party rally near you?
1 posted on 02/04/2013 6:29:23 PM PST by kristinn
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To: kristinn

The Islamist in Chief still hasn’t executed Nadil Hasan who was in contact with Al Qaeda before he attacked US citizens at Fort Hood.

Obama’s administration classifies it as “alleged workplace related violence” and the murderer is STILL RECEIVING HIS PUBLIC PAYCHECK!

Obama speaks with forked tongue.


2 posted on 02/04/2013 6:31:30 PM PST by a fool in paradise (America 2013 - STUCK ON STUPID)
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To: kristinn

Not good. Coming soon to the friendly skies of your flyover state.


3 posted on 02/04/2013 6:32:06 PM PST by andyk (I have sworn...eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.)
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To: kristinn

How have we reached the point where a thug like Eric Holder has this kind of power?


4 posted on 02/04/2013 6:33:17 PM PST by skeeter
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To: Nachum

For the list


5 posted on 02/04/2013 6:33:24 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four Fried Chickens and a Coke)
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To: kristinn
“an associated force”

Like the Tea Party?

6 posted on 02/04/2013 6:35:22 PM PST by Feckless (I was trained by the US << This Tagline Censored by FR >> ain't that irOnic?)
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: kristinn

As much as I hate islamic terrorists...........


8 posted on 02/04/2013 6:37:09 PM PST by wesagain (The God #Elohim# of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the One True GOD.)
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To: kristinn

The “AL QAEDA” buzzword is the sugar to make the medicine go down:

Have no doubt they’ll be turning Wal-Mart Willy and Costco Kathy into puffs of pink mist.

The first instance of using Global Hawk in CONUS was in Wyoming, and it was against ranchers who’d had some cattle wander onto their land.


9 posted on 02/04/2013 6:38:55 PM PST by gaijin
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To: skeeter

ruby ridge & waco


10 posted on 02/04/2013 6:39:44 PM PST by cyn (Benghazi...the travesty continues)
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To: kristinn

I don’t get the outrage about this.

If terrorists are legitimate targets, then why should a terrorist get a Don’t Drone Me Bro Card simply because he has American citizenship?

Some of the German infiltrators at the Battle of the Bulge who dressed in American uniforms were US citizens. They were still shot out of hand as in violation of the laws of war. As they should have been.

AFAIK there is at present no attempt to apply this principle inside the US. But if terrorists launch an all-out attack such as Benghazi or Beslan, does anyone seriously contend we shouldn’t respond with all necessary military force, even if those launching the attacks are US citizens?

I don’t trust our present administration any more than anybody else, but I think the principles outlined here, as such, are valid


11 posted on 02/04/2013 6:39:59 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: kristinn
consistent with the laws of war, against an individual who is a legitimate military target would be lawful and would not violate the assassination ban.”

It seems only like a short time ago that liberal journalists were unset because enemy combatants caught on the battlefield with weapons were being indiscriminately imprisoned.

12 posted on 02/04/2013 6:40:31 PM PST by oldbrowser (They are marxists, don't call them democrats)
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To: kristinn
Meanwhile wound 2a rights are being reduced to finger guns, even though it will get you expelled from school.

Where do we buy anti-aircraft weapons? The Chinese? French? (Wouldn't that be funny that they save our asses again.)

13 posted on 02/04/2013 6:44:34 PM PST by ConservativeInPA (Molon Labe)
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To: kristinn
Meanwhile wound 2a rights are being reduced to finger guns, even though it will get you expelled from school.

Where do we buy anti-aircraft weapons? The Chinese? French? (Wouldn't that be funny that they save our asses again.)

14 posted on 02/04/2013 6:44:34 PM PST by ConservativeInPA (Molon Labe)
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To: kristinn

The trouble with laws is that we think, “a reasonable person wouldn’t abuse this.” We need to start looking at each law if it were in the worst hands possible. Judging them from that perspective would go a long way toward corralling government.


15 posted on 02/04/2013 6:45:45 PM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: kristinn

Wow... just... like, wow, man. This admin is just out of control. How is it that NBC is coming up with this and not us?


16 posted on 02/04/2013 6:48:58 PM PST by Rodamala
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To: Jet Jaguar; NorwegianViking; ExTexasRedhead; HollyB; FromLori; EricTheRed_VocalMinority; ...

Thanks Army Air Corps

The list, Ping

Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list

http://www.nachumlist.com/


17 posted on 02/04/2013 6:49:37 PM PST by Nachum (The Obama "List" at www.nachumlist.com)
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To: NY Attitude

for later


18 posted on 02/04/2013 6:49:37 PM PST by NY Attitude (Make love not war but be prepared for either.)
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To: kristinn

It’s good to be king, not so good to be a peasant. I repeat, this is too much power for a POTUS, any POTUS.


19 posted on 02/04/2013 6:50:19 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: Jet Jaguar; NorwegianViking; ExTexasRedhead; HollyB; FromLori; EricTheRed_VocalMinority; ...

Thanks Army Air Corps

The list, Ping

Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list

http://www.nachumlist.com/


20 posted on 02/04/2013 6:50:36 PM PST by Nachum (The Obama "List" at www.nachumlist.com)
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To: kristinn
Badly written story. Are they making the general case that they can proclaim any American an enemy and kill them anywhere in the world, even inside the US? Or are we just going after radical Islamist who happen to be citizens?

“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.”

21 posted on 02/04/2013 6:52:46 PM PST by DManA
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To: Sherman Logan
"the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the US"

The article implies it's talking about within the US, but according to the first sentence in the white paper, this refers to 'in a foreign country outside the area of active hostilities'.

At any rate, it's just vague enough to make one wonder, considering all the shenanigans taking place.

"No intelligence" -- indeed.

22 posted on 02/04/2013 6:54:05 PM PST by cyn (Benghazi...the travesty continues)
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To: kristinn

“Is there a drone in your neighbourhood? Rise of spy planes exposed after FAA is forced to reveal 63 launch sites across U.S.”

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2875843/posts


23 posted on 02/04/2013 6:55:32 PM PST by TheBigJ
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To: skeeter

Skeeter—Eric Holder, who should be in jail for life (IMO), ain’t the half of it. Look no further than the WH to know that we’re screwed, big time!


24 posted on 02/04/2013 6:55:45 PM PST by basil (basil)
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To: Mastador1
Wait, we can assassinate Americans because someone in the Administration says they are a terrorist, but we are supposed to arrest and give real terrorists all the the right of a U.S. citizen?

It feels like a parallel universe sometimes, doesn't it? The same crew that says water boarding is inhumane doesn't have a problem executing American citizens without due process. I understand there may be times it's appropriate to kill a terrorist who holds US citizenship. But it seems pretty hypocritical that the same folks claiming this kind of power are the same folks who complained that the prior administration's interrogation techniques and prison environments were abuses of power.

Oh well, I'm sure it's Bush's fault somehow. Man, this going to be a looooong four years!

25 posted on 02/04/2013 6:55:45 PM PST by PeevedPatriot
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To: kristinn

“against a U.S. citizen whose conduct poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States”

So someone’s “conduct of imminent threat” is enough???

Oops, it says a U.S. citizen. My Bad.


26 posted on 02/04/2013 6:57:48 PM PST by Scrambler Bob ( Concerning bo -- that refers to the president. If I capitalize it, I mean the dog.)
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To: kristinn
Liberals went nuts when Bush wanted to listen to one side of international phone calls to known terrorists. What are they going to say about this?

-PJ

27 posted on 02/04/2013 6:57:48 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: All

and another thing... was talking to a coworker today whose young son is recently out of college a few years ago and with his employment had worked on some of the navigation functions of drone aircraft. My coworker was noting that the military has found that no amount of flight school training assists a drone pilot sitting in a trailer somewhere controlling the aircraft. The best drone pilots come frome the ranks of gamers...

This sent the thought of Adam Lanza flying these things in my mind.


28 posted on 02/04/2013 6:58:39 PM PST by Rodamala
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To: kristinn

Miss me yet?

29 posted on 02/04/2013 6:59:29 PM PST by mrsmith (Dumb sluts: Lifeblood of the Media, Backbone of the Democrat Party!)
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To: PeevedPatriot
'I'm sure it's Bush's fault somehow.'

Yep. Pres Bush set alot of 'precedents'. Obama and every future President will enjoy and utilized the expansion of the State for whatever purpose 'they' choose. The WOT will never 'end'.

30 posted on 02/04/2013 7:01:00 PM PST by Theoria
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To: kristinn

War is coming to the Homeland.


31 posted on 02/04/2013 7:01:51 PM PST by Candor7 (Obama fascism article:(http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/barack_obama_the_quintessentia_1.html))
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To: Mastador1
The use of deadly force: A fleeing felon, one who has commited a felony and represents a lethal danger to the public in the future may be shot to prevent escape. Also they can have an A.N or I in the name.
32 posted on 02/04/2013 7:05:34 PM PST by Domangart
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To: skeeter

We reached that state when John Roberts became Chief Justice! IMHO


33 posted on 02/04/2013 7:06:11 PM PST by Tucker39
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To: Sherman Logan
I don’t get the outrage about this.

Do you really want the government of the United States to make it okay to kill American citizens it deems as terrorists, especially without a Declaration of War (which we did have in WW2)? Do you support the 2nd Amendment? Some Democrats have called the NRA a terrorist organization. Do you go to Church? Some on the left call Christians right wing terrorists.

Do you see the abuse waiting to happen?

I have no love for any American who joins Al-Qaeda. I hope they meet their Maker soon courtesy of the U.S. military. But this policy makes the President the judge, jury, and executioner of American citizens and we don't operate that way.

34 posted on 02/04/2013 7:06:47 PM PST by Azeem (There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury and ammo.)
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To: cyn
"the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the US"

Works for me.

Al Quaeda has declared war on the United States. As far as I'm concerned, this makes any and all attacks on it and its members legitimate acts of war.

I wonder why it shouldn't be possible to declare war on a non-governmental organization. They act more and more like states, so why shouldn't they be treated as such? Let everybody in the world know that being in the vicinity of those who are at war with the USA is severely hazardous to their health.

Can this principle be misused or misapplied? Of course, just as any other legal principle can be. But we don't throw principles away because they are potentially subject to abuse. If we did, we wouldn't be able to fight back at all.

35 posted on 02/04/2013 7:07:02 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan
I don’t get the outrage about this.

Do you really want the government of the United States to make it okay to kill American citizens it deems as terrorists, especially without a Declaration of War (which we did have in WW2)? Do you support the 2nd Amendment? Some Democrats have called the NRA a terrorist organization. Do you go to Church? Some on the left call Christians right wing terrorists.

Do you see the abuse waiting to happen?

I have no love for any American who joins Al-Qaeda. I hope they meet their Maker soon courtesy of the U.S. military. But this policy makes the President the judge, jury, and executioner of American citizens and we don't operate that way.

36 posted on 02/04/2013 7:07:02 PM PST by Azeem (There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury and ammo.)
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To: kristinn
Our 2nd amendment rights will soon need to be exercised by purchasing these:

Photobucket

The word is that there are some 20 to 30 thousand of the Russian version for sale in North Africa.

37 posted on 02/04/2013 7:08:42 PM PST by Candor7 (Obama fascism article:(http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/barack_obama_the_quintessentia_1.html))
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To: Candor7

It was only a week ago that video came out, of Little Birds flying through downtown Miami, rolling off M60 blanks.


38 posted on 02/04/2013 7:09:03 PM PST by Delmarksman (Pro 2A Anglican American (Ford and Chevy kill more people than guns do, lets ban them))
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To: Delmarksman

A little weird that. Makes a patriot a might itchy.


39 posted on 02/04/2013 7:11:21 PM PST by Candor7 (Obama fascism article:(http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/barack_obama_the_quintessentia_1.html))
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To: Sherman Logan

I agree with you in principle. But with these dangerous hate-America clowns in charge leading to such things as the shakeup in the military, the appalling LACK of ordinarily-expected action in Benghazi with subsequent continuing coverup, and the Ft. Hood shooter still drawing a paycheck for his little “workplace violence” incident (as pointed out above)...things just are not the same.

I’ve not read the entire white paper; I look forward to seeing more takes on it. (lol on the “don’t drone me, bro”)


40 posted on 02/04/2013 7:18:36 PM PST by cyn (Benghazi...the travesty continues)
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To: Azeem
Do you really want the government of the United States to make it okay to kill American citizens it deems as terrorists, especially without a Declaration of War (which we did have in WW2)?

The authorization by Congress to use all necessary military force constitutes the functional equivalent of a formal Declaration of War.

The USA has formally declared war a grand total of 5 times under the Constitution, 4 of those after hostilities had started.

We have engaged in military action literally hundreds of times, with tacit or explicit congressional approval in most of those cases. The very first example was the Quasi-War with France, where President Adams fought without a formal declaration of war. This allowed both sides to pretend they weren't really at war.

As far as using military force against American citizens without a Declaration of War, this goes all the way back to Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion.

As I've said elsewhere, the traditional idea of a formally declared war is that it can be declared only against another nation-state. We need to either expand the concept and formally declare war on al-Quaeda, which would be fine by me, or recognize that in a time when our most aggressive enemies aren't nation-states, Declarations of War are obsolete.

Do I trust Obama to use such powers wisely? Hell, no! But that doesn't mean the powers are wrong, only that we elected a bad user twice.

41 posted on 02/04/2013 7:21:48 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: skeeter
To use a phrase once spoken by former Whitehouse Press Woman, Helen Thomas: Could it be that Holder, “knows where all the bodies are burried”.
42 posted on 02/04/2013 7:22:05 PM PST by TiaS
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To: mrsmith
AG Mulckasey, who replaced Ashcroft, opened the door for all this and it's gone down hill, “like a snowball headed for HELL” ever since.
43 posted on 02/04/2013 7:29:50 PM PST by TiaS
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To: mrsmith
AG Mulckasey, who replaced Ashcroft, opened the door for all this and it's gone down hill, “like a snowball headed for HELL” ever since.
44 posted on 02/04/2013 7:29:50 PM PST by TiaS
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To: mrsmith
AG Mulckasey, who replaced Ashcroft, opened the door for all this and it's gone down hill, “like a snowball headed for HELL” ever since.
45 posted on 02/04/2013 7:29:50 PM PST by TiaS
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To: kristinn

Depends on what the word ‘terrorist’ is.


46 posted on 02/04/2013 7:30:14 PM PST by TribalPrincess2U (0bama's agenda¬óDivide and conquer seems to be working.)
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To: kristinn

BFL


47 posted on 02/04/2013 7:32:18 PM PST by huldah1776
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To: Sherman Logan
If terrorists are legitimate targets, then why should a terrorist get a Don’t Drone Me Bro Card simply because he has American citizenship

Who gets to determine what a "legitimate" target is? How do we know whether the administrations isn't just trumping up charges against innocent people in order to spy on or summarily execute political opponents? With no checks on executive branch to oversee its actions, the potential for abuse is very high. (Unless you think that the government always does the right thing and would never abuse its power.)

To allow the executive branch the power to do whatever it wants without ANY checks is to essentially make the executive a king. If the government can accuse an innocent person of a crime and take away a person's rights and due process based upon the executive branch's say so alone, then the government can do that to everyone and the protections promised in the Constitution are meaningless.

48 posted on 02/04/2013 7:33:54 PM PST by old republic
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To: kristinn
A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

I'm sure there are Muslims in the Department of Justice - I'm equally sure there are no conservatives there. Are we - fellow Americans of a conservative bent - the 'associated force'?

49 posted on 02/04/2013 7:36:48 PM PST by GOPJ ( Revelation can be more perilous than Revolution. Vladimir Nabokov)
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To: Sherman Logan

Very simple ... If he/she is an American they have a right to a trial by law!... If your Mom, Dad, Brother or Sister are deemed terrorists thus legitimate targets should we kill them without a trial?


50 posted on 02/04/2013 7:38:10 PM PST by KingNo155
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