Thursday, September 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

US memo justifying drone killings is released

By
June 24, 2014 |

NEW YORK — The secret U.S. government memo outlining the justification for the use of drones to kill American terror suspects abroad was released by court order Monday, yielding the most detailed, inside look yet at the legal underpinnings of the Obama administration’s program of “targeted killings.”

The 41-page memo – whose contents had previously been summarized and released piecemeal – was heavily redacted for national security reasons, with several entire pages and other passages whited out.

But it argues among other things that a targeted killing of a U.S. citizen is permissible under a 2001 law passed by Congress soon after 9/11. That law empowered the president to use force against organizations that planned and committed the attacks.

“The release of the memo will allow the public to better assess the lawfulness of the government’s targeted killing policy and the implications of that policy,” said Jameel Jaffer, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who argued for release of the memo. “Despite the release of this memo, the public still knows scandalously little about who the government is killing and why.”

He said the memo contains the first formal acknowledgment by the government that the CIA is involved in the program.

The July 2010 memo was written by a Justice Department official who is now a federal appeals court judge. It was released after a yearlong legal battle by The New York Times and the ACLU.

The memo specifically provided the legal justification for the September 2011 killing in Yemen of Anwar Al-Awlaki, an al-Qaida leader and one-time cleric at a Virginia mosque who had been born in the United States, and another U.S. citizen, Samir Khan, who edited al-Qaida’s Internet magazine. An October 2011 strike also killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, al-Awlaki’s teenage son and also a U.S. citizen.

Al-Awlaki had been involved in an abortive attack against the U.S. and was planning other attacks from his base in Yemen, the memo said. It said the authority to use lethal force abroad may apply in certain circumstances to a U.S. citizen who is part of the forces of an enemy organization.

The memo said the Defense Department operation was being carried out against someone who was within the core of individuals against whom Congress had authorized the use of “necessary and appropriate” force.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York released the memo after the Times and the ACLU sued for any documents in which Justice Department lawyers had discussed the highly classified “targeted killing” program.

The appeals court ordered the memo disclosed after noting that President Barack Obama and other senior government officials had commented publicly on the subject.

David E. McCraw, vice president and assistant general counsel for the Times, called the memo “a critical addition to the public debate over targeted killings and should fuel a richer discussion of the legal and security issues that are at the heart of that debate.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, responding to criticism from groups that complained that it took a court order to get the memo released, said the administration worked through the legal system “to produce a redacted document that protected national security interests while at the same time trying to live up to our commitment to transparency.”

“In this case, I think even the groups that sharply criticized us would call this a win for transparency,” Earnest said.

The memo was written by David Barron, who at the time was acting chief of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. He was recently confirmed as a judge in the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

U.S. officials considered al-Awlaki to be an inspirational leader of al-Qaida, and they have linked him to the planning and execution of several attacks targeting American and Western interests, including a 2009 attempt on Christmas Day to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner.

Pardiss Kebriaei, a senior attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, said the memo’s contents showed that the targeted killing program was built on “gross distortions of law.”

Kebriaei, who worked with the ACLU on two lawsuits challenging al-Awlaki’s killing, estimated that more than 4,000 people may have been killed by drone strikes since 2009.

The lawyer said that although the U.S., England and Israel are the only countries that have used drones to kill, other countries soon will have such aircraft of their own.

“The United States loosening and redefining international rules governing the use of force and war is ultimately not going to make anyone any safer,” the lawyer said.

Meanwhile, the 2nd Circuit indicated that the memo’s release might not be the last. The appeals court also ordered the Justice Department to show other legal opinions to a lower-court judge to determine whether they, too, must be disclosed.

In February 2013, the administration released a 16-page Justice Department “white paper” summarizing the legal arguments detailed in the memo released Monday. The paper asserted that it would be legal to kill a U.S. citizen who had joined al-Qaida if “an informed, high-level official” concluded that the person could not be captured and posed “an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.”

The paper said an imminent threat “does not require … clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

A Yemeni human rights activist, Abdel-Rahman Barman, said the memo shows that any security tip that reaches the U.S. government could lead to somebody being killed.

“This will only endanger the lives of more people,” Barman said.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Suisun council candidates all voice business-friendly platforms

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Theatre DeVille in Vacaville closes

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Focus on school attendance now, always

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Pepperbelly’s for sale

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Jury selection begins in 2011 Fairfield murder trial

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

 
Seniors get help at Kroc Center health fair

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Drug court success stories tell their tales

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Suisun City Senior Center seeks holiday donations

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Lunafest returns to Fairfield in November

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Weather for Sept. 18, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

Emotions mount on final day of Scottish campaign

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
More than 2,000 homes threatened in California fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Maps provide early warning of California fire risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
School district police stock up free military gear

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

NASA’s Maven spacecraft reaches Mars this weekend

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US military role in Iraq raises combat questions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Police: Ambush suspect was military re-enactor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
House grudgingly approves arms for Syrian rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ex-VA doctor: Phoenix report a ‘whitewash’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Doctor says Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

US scientist: Ebola unlikely to become airborne

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Liberia president praises US for Ebola help pledge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Obama reaffirms opposition to US combat in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
AP Interview: Iraq premier says no foreign troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Opinion

Give new crime report a chance

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

 
Why Obama needs congressional authority to wage war

By Albert R. Hunt | From Page: A7

Democrats shouldn’t rely on pot and gay marriage

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A7

 
Homeless find welcome in Vallejo

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My brother fails to make an effort to when it comes to my kids

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 18, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Directors Guild finds TV diversity hiring stalled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

U2 returns to iTunes Top 100 — 26 times

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: B4

 
.

Sports

Rodriguez gets 1st MEL soccer win since return to league

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Giants snap tie in 9th, beat Arizona to narrow gap in West to 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers’ Kaepernick fined for inappropriate language

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Sharks sign D Braun to 5-year, $19 M extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rockets acquire Jason Terry, picks from Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Panthers remove DE Greg Hardy from active roster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Barry Bonds appeal heads back to court

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL, union agree to new drug policy, HGH testing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders rookie Derek Carr focuses on job at hand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Pegulas’ bid to buy Bills OK’d by NFL committee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
FSU benches Winston for 1st half of Clemson game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Umpire West suspended 1 game for grabbing jersey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
After making ‘mistake,’ Vikings bench RB Peterson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Brown signs ride-sharing insurance legislation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
US homebuilder confidence soars in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Anthem, hospitals join to offer new insurance plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Drag queens dress down Facebook over names

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Wells Fargo pays $290,000 in sex harassment case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Fed signals plan to keep key rate at record low

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

Margaret King

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9