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Feds to Provide Legal Framework on “Targeted Killing” of U.S. Citizens Abroad
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The policy makers and lawmakers in Washington have been plagued with questions since the killing of U.S. citizen by birth, Anwar al-Awlaki by a drone attack in Yemen, five months back.

Monday, during a major speech at Northwestern University law school, the Attorney General Eric Holder would describe the framework under which lethal force may be used for targeted killing of Americans residing overseas. The news was released on Sunday night by Obama administration officials.

Though Obama and Bush administrations have used civilian and military courts to convict and sentence both U.S.-born and foreign terrorists quite successfully, at least three lawsuits have been filed asking the Obama administration to publicly release the justification buried in a secret Justice Department memo that allowed the use of lethal force and targeted killing of al-Awlaki in Yemen.


The lawsuits have compelled the Obama administration to consider the extent of the legal justification they can release to the public.

The Attorney General holds that the use of lethal force on Americans residing abroad is considered legal under a Sept. 18, 2001, joint congressional resolution that was enacted a week after the 9/11 attacks. The resolution allowed the authorities to use all required power to forestall any further acts of international terrorism against the U.S.

According to the administration, a Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was tried and sentenced to life in prison after his arrest and subsequent confession of plans to blow up an international flight during Christmas 2009. During the interrogation of the convict it was revealed that his mission was Okayed by al-Awlaki during a three day session.

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The administration holds that it was sufficient to show that al-Alwaki was dangerous to the United States and its public, as he plotted, approved, and sent on mission agents to make terrorist strikes on U.S. targets.

However, the full release of the legal justification for sending a drone to kill al-Alwaki may never happen.


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