Targeted Drone Strikes Against American Citizens, Legal Questions

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Targeted Drone Strikes. Last week Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky conducted a filibuster opposing the President’s nomination of John O. Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. Senator Paul feared that once at the C.I.A., Mr. Brennan might authorize unmanned drone strikes against American citizens, on United States soil, without trial. In the end, Senator Rand stopped speaking, and Mr. Brennan was confirmed.

The use of targeted drone strikes to kill American citizens without trial raises, however, important legal questions, even when they are on foreign soil. The New York Times has published a riveting account of how the government considered the legal issues and then hunted and killed a U.S. citizen in Yemen, Anwar-al-Awlaki, who had beyond any doubt incited other Muslims to commit violent acts against the United States. Unfortunately collateral killing of American citizens who had not been targeted also resulted.

I commend this story to you, along with consideration of the questions Senator Rand raised.

Monday Morning Map:

“The best way to assure your future is to make it happen.”

– Abraham Lincoln


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