What justification does the US government need to kill American citizens?

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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.


  • Anonymous

     So Glenn, are the military people or CIA members that push the button to fire these missiles from the drones, Hero’s? Are they hero’s Glenn?

  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    What does it take for the government to kill you anymore?
    Just stand in opposition to the current administration, and under their ‘kill US citizens w/o due process’ and the ‘detain w/o due process’ executive orders you can be hit at any time, place, and location when the admin deems you to be linked by suspicion alone to any terrorist group.
    In short, we have a President who is willing to murder our own people for the sake of his holding onto power for as long as he can. Its only a matter of when, and not if, the bloodshed begins.

    • mspatdev

      So…Then someone can go in and kill Obammy and Clinton for lying, killing our ambassador in Benghazi and three other people, plus many more citizens?  They have lied so much about other things. They have committed TREASON against our nation. 

    • Anonymous

      All obama will need some screw ball say he part of a group  act out or one latent  nut case in a group then obama and his minions will paint the whole group as terrorists and or a danger to the country to eliminate the whole groups !! He won’t let any crisis go to waste ,he will exaggerate what one nut did for a whole innocent group to push agenda with no opposition !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • http://twitter.com/nutts2020 nutt

      Unless you’re a “senior operational leader” of al-Qaida or “associated forces”, then you can rest easy, carry on with your nonsense, and wear your Beck foil-hat without fear.

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.a.perry David A. Perry

      nutt – So who gets to decide that you’re an “senior operational leader” of Al Qaiada? Some dude at the DOJ? This is BAD precedent. MAYBE Obama will limit it to Senior Al Qaida guys and on foreign soil. And MAYBE NOT. Him (or some future president) might decide it can be on US soil, and perhaps expand the definition of terorist to include member of the NRA, or anybody else he doesn’t like. This is BAD!!! And this is not strictly a Obama/Demcrat thing either. When Republicans like John Bolton and Lindsey Graham go out there and defend this crap its just as bad! They should be ashamed!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/jon.venuto Jon Rosario Venuto

      So we wont defend Americans with our drones but we will execute them if we THINK they MAY be a threat. . . .Napolotano already called the Tea party and returning vets a potential terrorist threat.

  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    The memos terms have been left open-ended and as broad as possible for one lone reason, to have a self-proclaimed interpretation of it to mean exactly what you wish it to mean in any circumstances that come up.

    • Draxx

      You’re right that is why they are making the Supreme Court Null and Void, just like what they are doing with Congress…

      Then, they will only have the Executive Branch to DECIDE EVERYTHING…

    • Anonymous

      Put your statement in unintelligible words that mean nothing and string comments out for 20 minutes and you have an Obama press conference.

    • Steve Purcell

      And we all know how good the “Razzle-Dazzle Man” is at spinning interpretations…

  • http://youtu.be/xm1F7ub00gk Sam Fisher

    Gee guys don’t you feel safe that Obama tried to paint us as terrorist. Yet they claim they don’t want to kill us because of what we believe.

  • Anonymous

    Think a disagreement will result in being a target?  Try to stop them.

  • Anonymous

    This fruitcake president does not have a problem killng innocent people from this country, Benghazi, Fast and Furious,  proof positive

    • mspatdev

      AMEN  to you melhornh

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BGC7U7QUFEWSSV3H4IFHLAFK54 mudslide

    Drone missions in America – check.

    Drone missions in Benghazi – ummm….errrrr……

    • Draxx

      mudslide, Maybe we should ask Hillary C. if she knows anything about that…

      Answer – NOPE, her response was, “What does it matter now?  What’s Done Is Done!  But, I will have an Investigation Done On You For Asking Me That In Public!” 
      (psst, I am a high ranking and qualified person to decide whether to use a drone on you, because I Suspect You Are Up To Something… I don’t know what, but I feel Justified about killing you from the sky!)

    • Anonymous

      What they SHOULD be “DRONING” is our nation’s BORDERS, to put a stop to the LEAKING IN of ILLEGALS…
      Everything seems BASS-ACKWARDS about this administration…

  • Anonymous

    Having NO JUSTIFICATION for the US GOVERNMENT to KILL AMERICAN CITIZENS, gives absolute justification for AMERICAN CITIZENS to SHOOT BACK!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Here, here ZEROGON! This government is itching for revolution.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/GW6ALM3N2YFTOT6TN3GZGAHQG4 Frank Balcer

      killing citizens is violating the oath of office and the constitution, it’s murder and treason as well.

      • Anonymous

        What a joke.  Obama has lied, mislead, and has tried to ditch the constitution since day one.

        He is guilty of treason.

        • http://www.facebook.com/david.a.perry David A. Perry

          You blame Obama (as well you should), but when John Bolton and Lindsay Graham go out and defend him they are just as bad!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IEWOM2ANVKPFNSOHRXR4MN7B3E Doug

    Does this mean he can order a drone atatck on himself?

  • http://twitter.com/miller17cu94 Chris Miller

    Assume that now with your law enforcement and media at the local and state levels if theyare #DNC They will have #shoottokill orders from @BarackObama

  • http://twitter.com/lurker0000 Robo Fink

    Well- Obama is constantly involved in super-secret meetings with Muslim Brotherhood members…I think this should be used to get him! Oh, the irony, lol!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joel.patti.3 Joel Patti


    • Anonymous


    • Anonymous

      Someone in high place with no name and cannot be trace back of giving the okay to target a U.S Citizens in U.S , maybe obama  political manager who do not want anyone with opposing views to be heard ,will be place with a false label be consider a enemy of our country or a terrorists ,nothing to lose no oversight from congress or the courts !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I suppose that if that argument is good enough for the US Government, it could be argued that the same justification and beliefs and fears are good enough for US Citizens who “know” or have reason to believe that somebody poses an “imminent threat” to them so they can send a drone – a hired killer – to take out the “imminent enemy.”

    • Anonymous

       The United Vigilantes of America, open 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week and always ready at a moments notice to serve and protect and eliminate.

  • Anonymous

    That question was answered at Ruby Ridge and down in Waco Texas…… the Government has been killing it’s citizens on American soil for some time now…….



  • Anonymous

    “What justification does the US government need to kill American citizens?”


    Think about it.

  • Anonymous

    barryHUSSEINobama and ALL his adviCzars should be Impeached and imprisoned in Gitmo! they broke every law in America..and even the Oath of Citizenship!! congress should have the Guts to stand Up FOR The American People,To Stand Up TO The Evil Lord George Soros!! 

  • Anonymous

    With this Administration what is to prevent them from taking action right here at home on whomever they desire to take action on… I believe that is called “murder”.  So why isn’t it called “murder” just because they do it in some foreign country thousands of miles away from home.
    They could take out anyone, and I mean anyone that they deems a threat to them, with out proof, without evidence, without a trial by jury, without a warrant, we don’t like you and what you stand for and “pouf” your gone..  Me thinks this President likes this way too much. mary711

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_X2NAPSXIXUJPOPPGU6CXVFQFLA Snorri Sturluson

    Justification? Justification to kill American citizens? We don’t need no stinking justification to kill anybody.  OK! The Old, the Fat ,the Ugly, the NRA member, the Conservatives, the Critics, the Fast Food Eaters, the Orthodox anti-birth control religious, just add their names and locations to the list. “It doesn’t matter whose names you put upon the list, for none of them will be missed; none of them will be missed”.  The A.G’s  legal justification for any drone kills sounds like a  twist on ”The Mikado” by Gilbert and Sullivan.

  • Anonymous

    Question Glenn if in the near future or  our government already has drones the size of insects & look like insect to monitor our conversations in U.S ,but could these drone also be the next version of pinpoint killer drones too down to individual level ??? May give a new definition to killer bee ,be arm with a untraceable substance that could cause a fatal heart attack in a normal healthy person. no bullet wounds,no one seen near the target victim, plus no over sight by congress or courts !  This President and his minions already label the Republican party enemy of our country and Tea Party as terrorists ,but won’t say boo about the Radical Extremist Muslims who attack the World Trade Center as being terrorists !!  Now about battle field the attack on World Trade Center and Pentagon would he consider U.S a war zone ???? We already had exchange of using other country soil to water boarding and interrogate or have them perform these tasks against the law in U.S and we did the same if these country ask us to do the same  for them. Maybe China or Iran who seem to be friends with obama will operate their drones in U.S and take out leaders or outspoken people with opposing views to obama who did not break any laws or make any threats so obama will have no opposition and obama do the same for them ?????????????????????

    • Anonymous

      It won’t be a stretch in the future if this man in the White House want you dead he won’t have to answer to anyone congress,judges,constitution or We the People.  They will have your location by your cell phone GPS  or micro chip in your driving license,medicare card if your wallet not shielded relay to a predator drone not to fire a hell-fire missile too messy ,but in a stealthy way to take you out because your not in lock  step with King obama  or have different views or opinions than him he consider you a danger or the enemy of the country !! , This predator drone will dispense miniature insect drones to take you out in your back yard,going to your car or leaving your car,golf course etc !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/fawnday Dawn Brayton

    Unfortunately this makes perfect sense. There were at least three Americans who have been high level Al-Queada people. Having Americans be part of that group makes life difficult for all of us. It’s just like how in our day schoolteachers made the whole class stay in the room(no mater if the end of the period or the end of the day had arrived) until someone who had done something wrong confessed to the crime. Or if a school had cops come in nobody could leave a clasroom for any reason until the person or people who had knife fights in the hall were arrested.

    • Anonymous

       Only if the people ruling over us were 100% trustworthy would this make perfect sense,  of course, if our politicians were absolutely reliable – that would mean we were living in a perfect utopian world, where murder from within a police-state would be unconscionable and unheard of. Not only does this not make perfect sense, it is the most dangerous policy that has ever come out of DC.

  • Anonymous

    I had a strong feeling before Obama was elected in 2008 that he was a bad choice and would target American citizens someday if given the opportunity. He has the potential for a mass murdering of American citizens. I agree with Glenn, he would kill conservatives if given the chance. There’s a need to get him and this administration out of office and in prison with an impeachment before something like that does happen. Liberals cannot be trusted to govern free people.

    1 less filthy criminal liberal (aren’t they all?) liberal fool=s several freed tax payers!

  • Anonymous

    You do realize you people are paranoid fruit cakes. It was wonderful that Bush and Cheney were torturing people to extract information to find out about terror plots to kill terrorists before they kill us. Now Obama has continued the policy and you folks think he’s coming to the US to kill Americans. Take a deep breath and think for a second. That thought process used to put people in institutions. Oh yeah, Obama and his minions plan on institutionalizing anyone who speaks out against him. Beware!!!!!!!

  • Bonnie Somer

    the problem obama does not care what we think he ignores the constitution and rule of law so y do we believe he cares if he kills us his green energy agenda is part of that and his one child policy is too.   this is a dangerous man oh like an al qaeda operative but he is our prez DANGER DANGER

  • Anonymous

    Please kill me first I’m sick of this she-it anyway they are bad people and we all know it this is NOT the only world i’ve planed ,sssooo does it hurt when you know i’m not afraid !!
    God Bless The Chris Kyle family

  • Brave_Pa

    The CIA has people undercover,The mossad has people undercover, The Navy SEALS have people undecover, The military has all kinds of assets that live with and among the enemy. The DOJ and the president have know idea who or ware they are.

    I can see things going horably wrong and more innocent americans being killed.

  • Anonymous

    Does it hurt to KNOW they’ve lied !!!

  • Anonymous

    Janet Napolitano has already labeled military veterans as potential terrorists. So, apparently, all a government wonk needs to do is simply say it and it is so, facts not withstanding. It’s not just shameful but dangerous to the average citizen.

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