In a recently released 16 page memo, the Obama Administration has confirmed what many “conspiracy theorist” people have been saying for years; that he can and will kill Americans. We have heard the reports of the innocent women and children who have been killed by unmanned drones, even while Obama campaigns for stricter gun control, but no one wanted to admit that the Nobel Peace Prize winner could really do something like that. Now, we have proof of how the administration feels about people and the lax rules it uses to determine who can live and who can die.
The memo says “an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government” must decide that the target is a “senior operational leader” of al-Qaida or “associated forces,” “poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States,” and that an attempt to capture that individual is “infeasible.”
“Targeting a member of an enemy force who poses an imminent threat of violent attack to the United States is not unlawful. It is a lawful act of self-defense,” the document asserts.
“Imminent threat”? That seems reasonable and is a traditional standard for military action. Except that, as NBC investigative reporter Michael Isikoff notes, the memo adds that “the condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”
Instead, that previously mentioned “high-level official” can determine that the potential target was “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of an attack and that “there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.”
Isikoff notes the memo does not define “activities” or “recently,” leaving that up to the administration to determine on a case-by-case basis.
The memo drew a withering response from the American Civil Liberties Union.
“This is a profoundly disturbing document, and it’s hard to believe that it was produced in a democracy built on a system of checks and balances,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “It summarizes in cold legal terms a stunning overreach of executive authority—the claimed power to declare Americans a threat and kill them far from a recognized battlefield and without any judicial involvement before or after the fact.”