Obama admin weighing another drone strike on U.S. citizen accused of terrorism
By End the Lie
Obama administration officials revealed that they are considering a drone strike on a U.S. citizen who they say is a member of al-Qaida and actively planning attacks on Americans abroad.
In May of last year, Attorney General Eric Holder publicly confirmed that U.S. drone strikes have killed four American citizens in Yemen in Pakistan without charge or trial.
In the same month, Obama announced new restrictions on drone strikes, which some say may be breached in this case.
While the Obama administration’s policy is that only the military can kill Americans overseas who are suspected terrorists, officials said the president could buck those guidelines and allow the CIA to use a drone strike, according to the National Journal.
The Associated Press cited four unnamed U.S. officials who said that the suspected terrorist is currently in a national that refuses to allow U.S. military operations on their soil. The country also reportedly is unable to pursue the unidentified American citizen.
Two of the officials said the man is an al-Qaeda facilitator who is directly responsible for deadly attacks on American citizens overseas.
The man also “continues to plan attacks against them that would use improvised explosive devices,” according to the two officials cited by AP.
Yet another U.S. official said that the Department of Defense is not yet settled on if the man is actually dangerous enough “to merit the potential domestic fallout of killing an American without charging him with a crime or trying him.”
Another concern would be the significant international issues that could arise if an operation was carried out in a country that will not allow U.S. military action on their territory.
A different U.S. official told the AP that the Pentagon already decided to recommend killing the man.
The suspected terrorist is reportedly in a well-guarded, remote location. Any attempt to capture him using U.S. troops without the approval of the local government “would be risky and even more politically explosive than a U.S. missile strike,” the AP reports, citing military officials.
An unnamed senior administration official said that the Department of justice is currently building a case for the president to review and decide if the strike will be carried out.
The procedure is the same as the one followed when the U.S. killed Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2011. Al-Awlaki was a well-known militant cleric and U.S. citizen.
The Justice Department has to build a case showing that the killing of the American is “legal and constitutional.” The administration has to show that the Pentagon can take action against the citizen as an enemy combatant under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.
Under the new Obama administration guidelines, they must show that the target poses “continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons.” Lethal force can only be used “o prevent or stop attacks against U.S. persons, and even then, only when capture is not feasible and no other reasonable alternatives exist to address the threat effectively.”
The AP, as per the government’s request, withheld the name of the country because U.S. officials said it could “interrupt ongoing counterterror operations.”
The Pentagon, CIA and Justice Department all declined to comment for the AP.
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