March 25, 2012 |
During a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Chairman Patrick Leahy and Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. appeared to share a chuckle over issues related to the targeted killing last year of an American citizen by the United States. According to news reports, Leahy good-naturedly reminded the attorney general that his committee was still waiting for a copy of a classified Department of Justice memorandum in which the killing was justified on statutory and constitutional grounds. With a smile and a laugh, Holder acknowledged that there was disagreement within the administration about whether to honor Leahy's request.
March 7, 2012
Not too many debates were settled Monday when U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. detailed the Obama administration's decision-making process on targeted killings. Critics were left with as many questions as before, while supporters had a few more things to cheer about. For our part, we're as troubled as ever by drone-based assassinations - and perhaps more concerned that this nation is heading down a dangerous path. The debates, in large part, are about priorities: At what point does the threat of a terrorist attack justify bypassing constitutional guarantees of due process, not to mention international law?
March 5, 2012 |
The president has legal authority to target and kill American citizens working with Al Qaeda and its allies overseas, according to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., who declared that when such people pose a threat to the country and cannot be captured, "we must take steps to stop them. " Speaking to an audience at Northwestern University Law School, Holder gave the most complete explanation to date of the Obama administration's legal rationale for killing people such as American-born Anwar Awlaki, who was targeted in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen last year.
March 5, 2012 |
Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. defended the U.S. right to target and kill American citizens overseas in the war on terror, telling an audience at the Northwestern University law school that when those individuals pose a real threat to this country and cannot be captured unharmed, "we must take steps to stop them. " But according to the text of his remarks released by the Justice Department, he stressed that it can only be done "in full accordance with the Constitution," and asserted that a targeted slaying, like that of American-born Anwar Awlaki in a U.S. drone attack in Yemen last year, can be ordered only after an "imminent threat" was posed to this country and their capture was "not feasible.
February 16, 2012 |
The Nigerian man who tried to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear aboard a Detroit-bound jetliner on Christmas Day 2009 has been sentenced to life in prison. Speaking briefly in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Thursday, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 25-year-old son of a wealthy Nigerian banker, called his sentencing "a day of victory" and said he was "proud to kill in the name of God," according to wire service reports. A criminologist who analyzed the transcripts of the FBI interrogation of Abdulmutallab wrote in a report submitted to the judge that the would-be bomber was unrepentant.
February 12, 2012
The joys of Clifton's Re "Clifton's Cafeteria peels back the years," Feb. 9 What wonderful memories I have of the old Clifton's Cafeteria when I was a young boy around 1951. I remember my mother patiently waiting for me to return home from my morning kindergarten class. We would take the trolley to downtown L.A.. My mother would shop, and we would end up at Clifton's for lunch. Can you imagine what this 5-year-old thought of the rain-forest motif, the endless display of foods and (of course, my favorite)
February 11, 2012 |
Anwar Awlaki, the U.S. citizen killed last year in a CIA drone strike in Yemen, was instrumental in the failed plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner in December 2009, according to a Justice Department court document filed Friday. A sentencing memorandum for Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who pleaded guilty in October to attempting to down the jetliner with a bomb sewn into his underwear, makes public for the first time some of the evidence that led President Obama to order a lethal strike against Awlaki, the Al Qaeda-linked cleric who was born in New Mexico.
February 10, 2012 |
A Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee says it is "unacceptable" that the Obama administration is refusing to provide Congress with the secret legal opinions cited to justify killing American citizens during counterterrorism operations. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has pushed against the notion of classified legal opinions, expressed his concerns in a letter to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday. Previously, Wyden has complained about the refusal of the Justice Department to make public secret interpretations of domestic-surveillance law. On Wednesday, the senator said he wanted to know just how much authority President Obama claims when it comes to the matter of killing American terrorism suspects, but that his request, made last April, to see the classified legal opinions exploring that topic has been rebuffed.
February 5, 2012 |
When it comes to national security, Michael V. Haydenis no shrinking violet. As CIA director, he ran the Bush administration's program of warrantless wiretaps against suspected terrorists. But the retired air force general admits to being a little squeamish about the Obama administration's expanding use of pilotless drones to kill suspected terrorists around the world - including, occasionally, U.S. citizens. "Right now, there isn't a government on the planet that agrees with our legal rationale for these operations, except for Afghanistan and maybe Israel," Hayden told me recently.
February 1, 2012
President Obama's public acknowledgment of the CIA's secret drone campaign in Pakistan puts new pressure on the administration to defend the policy openly. That's a welcome development. The president should now be equally forthcoming about the rationale for the targeted killings of American citizens. In an interview conducted by Google and YouTube on Monday, Obama defended the use of drones as "judicious" and added that "obviously a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA," Pakistan's federally administered tribal areas.