Killing of Al-Awlaki: Even When Trying to Fight Terrorism, the President Must Still Follow the Constitution

The debate over the U.S. government's targeted killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki continued this week. ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer took on former Bush lawyer (and torture memo writer) John Yoo on Southern California Public Radio’s AirTalk (listen here), and also explored the issue on CBC's The Current (listen here).

Much of the debate thus far has focused on Al-Awlaki. But we should be thinking about not only the people the government killed last week, but the power that’s being claimed by the president – and the administration has not said nearly enough about the power President Obama is claiming. No one is asking for the government to reveal confidential sources or intelligence-gathering methods – but why can't it even explain its legal justification for essentially executing an American?

Reuters reported on the process, revealing virtually all that's known about it:

American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.

There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House's National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.

This is not the kind of information that should be public only because it was leaked to a reporter by anonymous government officials. But what it does show is the other disturbing aspect of what happened: the executive branch acting without oversight by other branches. The Constitution made the judiciary a co-equal branch of government so that there would be a check against overreach by the political branches. Obviously the judiciary is not playing that role here.

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Lol, no comments yet .... I bet people would be screaming "nazi/fascist" if this were about the Bush administration


Since when the hell do they do THAT with BUSH?
I VOTED for Bush, and I never hear them saying ANYthing about him or Cheney OR their jackass attorneys who decided to change ALL the rules and not just a few of them. I mean they redefined entire SYSTEMS that had been in place for decades.
Then denied the crap out of doing so, which Bush still does to this DAY.
I didn't vote for him to do THAT, I thought he was going to do it the way most NORMAL people would and pursue prosecuting the guilty ones.

I'm sick of hearing empathy for terrorists but none for the person in my life who was burned out of freakin' EXISTENCE so effectively that we had to get a plaque for his grave, under which an empty casket resides, that says 'No day shall erase you from the memory of time.'

The only one I've ever heard mention empathy for victims is Anthony Romero. Nobody else connected to ACLU has ever mentioned that they think the killing of nearly 3,000 people was a horrific thing.
They just seem to be nothing but focused on these "poor people" who in absolute cold blood killed American people, once of whom I knew and had a life with before this happened.
I'm assuming they care b/c Anthony Romero said he does, and I decided he can't be the only one. But if I had to go only by what I see, I'd have to say he's alone in his concern for the victims of terrorist actions.
I elected to go with the benefit of the doubt and believe more than one person cares about it. Unfortunately, it seems like they care MORE for the suspected and maybe even actual terrorists than they do Eric and all the others.

I prefer to believe in the benefit of the doubt.

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