Friday, January 4, 2013

Court: Obama Can Secretly Assassinate American Citizens Suspected of Terrorism

The ACLU and New York Times are appealing the decision. - The Philly Post

Here are a few things that are public knowledge: President Obama oversees a drone program that targets terrorists with assassination. That he personally signs off on executions. And that American citizens abroad have—on at least one occasion—been targeted for assassination. We know all these things because anonymous administration officials have been telling us the details in newspaper and magazine articles for years. (The president has even made jokes about it in public.) But a federal court on Wednesday ruled that the Obama Administration doesn’t have to provide information showing that the program is actually lawful because … (drum roll) the program is a secret. U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon acknowledged in her ruling that the explanation is a tough one to swallow. “The administration has engaged in public discussion of the legality of targeted killing, even of citizens, but in cryptic and imprecise ways,” she wrote. But in the end, the Obama Administration ““cannot be compelled . . . to explain in detail the reasons why its actions do not violate the constitution and laws of the United States.” We’ll just have to trust him then.

Judge backs Obama administration on secrecy of targeted killings of terrorism suspects - Washington Post

But the judge also described a “veritable Catch-22” of security rules that allow the executive branch to declare legal “actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.”

...The ACLU and the Times both said they plan to appeal. A similar ACLU case covering many of the same issues remains pending in the U.S. District Court in Washington.