Last week in an interview with The Washington Times, the top U.S. national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, John Brennan, suggested that the government is tracking "dozens" of U.S. citizens, who could potentially be placed on a targeted killing list. Brennan stated:
There are, in my mind, dozens of U.S. persons who are in different parts of the world, and they are very concerning to us[…]If a person is a U.S. citizen, and he is on the battlefield in Afghanistan or Iraq trying to attack our troops, he will face the full brunt of the U.S. military response. If an American person or citizen is in a Yemen or in a Pakistan or in Somalia or another place, and they are trying to carry out attacks against U.S. interests, they also will face the full brunt of a U.S. response. And it can take many forms.
The United States' targeted killing program grants the CIA and the military unchecked authority to hunt and kill individuals, including U.S. citizens, far away from the battlefields in Iraq, and Afghanistan — potentially anywhere in the world. It remains entirely secret who can be targeted, what other limits (if any) are placed on the CIA and the military, and how the program is overseen. The ACLU believes that the program is unlawful, and has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit asking the government to disclose the legal basis for its use of predator drones to conduct targeted killings overseas, in addition to other basic information about the program.
A new ACLU video provides more information about the government’s targeted kill list and our FOIA lawsuit seeking information.
It is simply not enough for the government to say "trust us" when it comes to authorizing the hunting and killing of U.S. citizens and others all over the world. Outside of armed conflict zones, the use of lethal force is strictly limited by international law and, in circumstances where U.S. citizens are concerned, the Constitution. Join us in urging the President to reject the policy of targeted killings outside zones of actual armed conflict.