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The Obama Administration has made a habit out of targeting and killing American citizens linked to  al-Qaida with drone strikes, but they have never been forthcoming about their legal justification for circumventing the Constitutional right to due process. Now, a shocking memo has leaked which outlines how the White House determines the use of lethal drone strikes – and it’s extremely alarming.

According to the memo “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 memo states that a target is determined by “an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government”. The target should be “senior operational leader” of al-Qaida or “associated forces”. They must pose “an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States” and capture of the target must be “infeasible”.

As Stu pointed out on radio, many of the terms in the memo are left open-ended enough to give the Administration significant leeway in identifying and eliminating their targets.  In fact, the memo explicitly states that intelligence does not need to indicate they are actively involved in a threat.

“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,” the memo states.

Read the full memo HERE.