Memo backs U.S. using lethal force against Americans overseas
Anwar al-Awlaki died in a September 2011 drone strike in Yemen.
February 5th, 2013
10:18 AM ET

Memo backs U.S. using lethal force against Americans overseas

By Pam Benson

A Justice Department memo determined the U.S. government can use lethal force against an American citizen overseas if the person is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or one of its affiliates.

The paper provides insights into the Obama administration's policy of targeted killings carried out by the use of drone strikes against suspected terrorists. Several of those strikes have killed Americans, notably Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni American who had been connected to plots against the United States but never charged with a crime. Awlaki died in a drone attack in September 2011 in Yemen.

The 16-page white paper - titled "Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qaida or an Associated Force" - is a policy paper rather than an official legal document.

NBC News first reported on the contents of the memo, which was given to members of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees last June.  A congressional source verified the document's legitimacy to CNN.

WATCH: CNN's Christiane Amanpour interviews Anwar al-Awlaki's father 

The paper states that although U.S. citizens abroad retain their constitutional rights to due process, the U.S. government can use lethal force against a citizen under the following circumstances: "1) where an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States; 2) where a capture operation would be infeasible - and where those conducting the operation continue to monitor whether capture becomes feasible; and 3) where such an operation would be conducted consistent with applicable law of war principles."

But the document also says the government is not required "to have clear evidence" that an attack against the United States will occur in the immediate future to determine that an imminent threat is posed by a U.S. citizen.

The memo cites both congressional authorization and judicial approval for the use of military force to counter the threat of terrorist attack by all individuals.

The Supreme Court has held that the military may constitutionally use force against a U.S. citizen who is a part of enemy forces.

The document dismisses arguments by commentators that the war against al Qaeda cannot extend outside of Afghanistan, and asserts, "the United States retains its authority to use force against al-Qaida and associated forces outside the area of active hostilities when it targets a senior operational leader of the enemy force who is actively engaged in planning operations to kill Americans."

The American Civil Liberties Union called the document "profoundly disturbing."

Hina Shamsi, the director of the ACLU's National Security Project, said, "It summarizes in cold legal terms a stunning overreach of executive authority, the claimed power to declare Americans a threat and kill them far from a recognized battlefield and without any judicial involvement before or after the fact."

Shamsi called on the Obama administration to release the 50-page legal memo on which the White Paper is based.

A bipartisan group of senators has also called for the administration to release its legal opinions on presidential authority.

In a letter to the president on Monday, the 11 senators said, "It is vitally important, however, for the Congress and the American public to have a full understanding of how the executive branch interprets the limits and boundaries of this authority so that Congress and the public can decide whether this authority has been properly defined and whether the president's power to deliberately kill American citizens is subject to appropriate limitations and safeguards."

The letter is signed by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, Mark Udall, D-Colorado, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, of the Intelligence Committee as well as Mike Lee, R-Utah; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon; Dick Durbin, D-Illinois; Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont; Tom Udall, D-New Mexico; Mark Begich, D-Alaska; and Al Franken, D-Minnesota.

The request comes just days before the confirmation hearing of John Brennan to become director of the CIA. Brennan, who has served as the president's top counterterrorism adviser, is considered to be behind the administration's dramatic rise in the use of targeted killings.

He is expected to be grilled on the policy during his hearing Thursday.

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Filed under: Anwar al-Awlaki • drones • Terrorism • Yemen
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  23. Kayaking apps

    A Justice Department decided the U.S. government can use lethal force against an American citizen overseas if the person is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda.Why was this even a discussion?

    January 4, 2015 at 10:18 am | Reply
  24. choirLoft

    I cannot believe the level of thirst for blood that has revealed itself in these posts. The measure of justice in a decent society is that which one is willing to mete out for another. If justice is denied to the least of one's fellow man, then it is lost to us all.

    Due process of law has been violated and murdered here, not just some outlaw on the lam in a dusty country.

    The government of the United States has embarked on illegal criminal activity and will be judged by history if not by its own citizens. To approve of lawlessness is to bring it down upon our own heads. THINK about who's blood your willing to spill. Every man deserves his day in court. Every man.

    January 3, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  25. Camping forum

    I could not agree more I'm glad this guys was killed not to long ago.

    January 3, 2015 at 9:58 am | Reply
    • choirLoft

      WHAT HAPPENED to the rule of due process of law? This is the bedrock of any democratic government. The United States has now devolved into the level of gangsterism. If a hardened criminal can be executed by executive fiat, how long before innocents are murdered for convenience sake? Oh wait! That happened every day now. The unborn die like flies and nobody cares. Welcome to the new fascist police state of America. When they come for YOU, you'll have no one to defend you because everybody else will be dead!!!! Chew on that a while if you can.


      and that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

      January 3, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  26. In home personal training

    I'm glad to see that the Obama administration's policy of targeted killings carried out by the use of drone strikes against suspected terrorists is continuing.

    April 16, 2014 at 9:38 pm | Reply
    • choirLoft

      Criminal. Gangster. He who lives outside the law will suffer in a lawless police state. Due process of law has been murdered here by a government of heartless killers. What happened to "innocent until proven guilty"? Even a guilty man has the right to review by his peers. This is murder for murder's sake. It is illegal and immoral.

      January 3, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  27. NYC Fitness Event

    Memo backs U.S. using lethal force against Americans overseas. I couldn't agree more . If these guys want to turn on their countries and the people, then they should face justice. AT any means!

    February 3, 2014 at 9:40 pm | Reply
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  29. G-Man

    I will suggest that the spectators(ppl sitting at home) leave the answer to the DRONE USAGE to the Americans that are in Harms way. Regardless who is shooting at you, once you get shot at in combat it becomes a different ball game. I will answer here, whoever shoots at me in combat is a fair game. The issues of SPEEADY trial will be put in place. Speedy Trial as I will define it is saving the American tax payers dollards on court proceedings by killing whoever the enemy is on the battlefield with whatever weapon is available.

    February 11, 2013 at 10:53 am | Reply
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    February 11, 2013 at 8:14 am | Reply
  31. FactChecker

    I watched the Twin Towers collapse on live TV, killing 3,000 innocent people. I am very happy that Anwar al-Awlaki was killed like the dirty rat that he was.

    February 7, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  32. massoud

    Nobel Peace Prize Winner ? 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan, Blew Libya to pieces with US Missiles, Drone strikes have killed 200 Pakistani Children, killing a 16 year old American citizen in Yemen. Wow talk about Nobel peace prize committee remorse, I bet they had that one to do over.

    February 6, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Reply
  33. Smacky Smooth

    The terrorists won.

    February 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • CA Liberal

      Execution without trial. Sounds like something the Mafia or Al Qaeda would do.

      February 6, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  34. Dave

    So since it has been done in the past (by whomever may have been in the opposing party) it must thus be ok now? really?

    February 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  35. larry5

    This is like the President's political campaign except instead of destroying your opponent's reputation you kill him.

    February 6, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  36. spent

    Wait until it happens in this country. Oh it already is happening.

    February 6, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  37. Jerry

    And, our Clueless One is getting away with it (murder).

    February 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • 2Bob

      And what would you do if you were President tomorrow? Love these people to death?
      Instead of tut-tutting how about presenting your solution.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:32 am | Reply
  38. NEMO

    War is against the law, same as genocide/

    February 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Reply
    • 2Bob

      Brilliant. Pity no one read that line to Hitler. I'm sure he would have understood the utter rationality of your argument.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:35 am | Reply
  39. str8vision

    Actually, as far as I could tell the memo doesn't address the geographic location/restrictions which might limit where an American can be targeted, could be anywhere. According to the memo, an American citizen can be targeted even if they have never actually been involved in any plot, past or present. The only requirement appears to be that "someone" in the government labels them a ranking member of a group catagorized as a "terrorist" organization. Will the people that "assured" us Iraq had stockpiles of WMD's be the same ones determining which American's are "terrorist" and need to die? Good luck with that.....

    February 6, 2013 at 11:43 am | Reply
    • Dave

      It this isn't scary to ALL American's (including the die hard liberals), I am not sure what it will actually take to scare them? Maybe actual use on someone they know?

      February 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Reply
  40. Mark

    Once again CNN downplays a story. Its not "over sea's" its any location that the administration feels is a problem. That could be the mountains of North Dakota by their definition.

    No indictment, no arrest warrant, not even probable cause is needed for them to shove a drone up your rear end.

    All they have to do is label you a threat, and they've given themselves authorization to kill you.

    February 6, 2013 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • BoMo

      CNN is a bunch of pansies. The're more dramatic than the House Wifes of NJ, NY, Atlanta and Beverly Hills combined.

      February 6, 2013 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • str8vision

      That's right. You must have actually read the memo.

      February 6, 2013 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • JohnW

      That would be a pretty impressive strike, considering there are no mountains in North Dakota.

      February 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  41. BoMo

    This is a no brainer. YES, take the SOB's out. PS There are no rules when it comes to war. The only rule is survival.

    February 6, 2013 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • Michelle

      Like you, I respect the presidency of the United States. I wonder how any man can maintain fairness when given such powers. I dread hearing of abuse of power but I can understand how our fears would allow us to consider giving up some of our rights. I am also afraid we have gone too far in allowing these rights to be given, when we would agree in giving up our right to due process and even to our lives and lives of fellow Americans. I see not even any coverage of this issue, relegating this to only a political discussion on chat boards. We have given up our rights out of fear and this power will not be taken back easily.

      February 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  42. bill pike

    oh-it is ok to be a terrorist if you are an American??? I am not an Obama fan but this is what has to happen. The same people who question this asked where God was when all those kids were killed--and they are they ones who kicked God out of our schools. Common sense-if you are a terrorist-pay the price for the protection of our country.

    February 6, 2013 at 11:32 am | Reply
    • Whitehawk

      America has taken action against traitors in the past, but the game has changed. When an American citizen aligns with a terrorist group committed to destroying our nation, is in a foreign country to fight for that purpose, it would seem, IMO, that they have given up citizenship and rights.

      February 6, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  43. Nat Reader

    “CIA Target: Americans Officials: U.S. Citizens Working for Al Qaeda Can Be Killed in CIA Actions

    “The authority to kill U.S. citizens is granted under a secret finding signed by the president after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that directs the CIA to covertly attack al Qaeda anywhere in the world. The authority makes no exception for Americans, so permission to strike them is understood rather than specifically described, officials said.”

    This policy has been implemented and publicly acknowledged at least once. On November 3, 2002, the CIA killed a US citizen of Yemeni origin, Kamal Derwish, during its predator drone strike on an al-Queda terrorist in Yemen.

    February 6, 2013 at 11:07 am | Reply
    • Nat Reader

      soooooo.since this policy has been around since 2001....why do you conservatives have a problem with it now?????

      February 6, 2013 at 11:08 am | Reply
      • tm

        soooo, where are all the code pink and street protesters, ?, I dont see any dingbats jumping into the face of hildebeast cltinton , oh right, its a demonrat in the white house

        February 6, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  44. Let's kill children and call it "collateral damage"

    How come CNN keeps showing photos of Harold Ramis? What has Harold Ramis ever done to the United States? Leave Harold Ramis alone.

    February 6, 2013 at 11:07 am | Reply
    • Let's kill children of terrorists and call it "collateral damage"

      Drone all SOBs.

      February 6, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Reply
  45. Ed

    Once a person takes up arms agaist yheir nation is considered the enemy of the state. This fall under the the Uniform Code of Military Justice. You ask if this could happen in America? Remember Ruby Ridge and the Branch Dividian. Yes this could happen in America.

    February 6, 2013 at 11:03 am | Reply
  46. gimmeabrk

    Why doesn't CNN think this is front page news?

    February 6, 2013 at 10:56 am | Reply
  47. palintwit

    I guess it's a good thing these terrorists weren't waterboarded before they were killed. That would be an outrage, right Code Pink??

    February 6, 2013 at 10:55 am | Reply
  48. Sagebrush Shorty

    Every time I see one of these clowns with a finger in the air it reminds me of someone.

    February 6, 2013 at 10:46 am | Reply
  49. cd

    oh well, he was with his father who is a terrorist probably learning the trade.

    February 6, 2013 at 10:35 am | Reply
    • Michelle

      No one knows as no information was needed to be given to the public. The boy was killed 4 days after his father implying he was a specific target not a casualty. This is hard to understand for me as a mother. What could a 16 year old possibly have been assumed to mastermind?

      February 7, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Reply
  50. Rick

    Anyone who publicly denounces the United States and vows a war, holy or not, on us has given up citizenship as far as I am concerned. That is not to say that Americans overseas can automatically be put in that class just because they disparage our country. And I think the headline is misleading since it offers the hint of it being all Americans overseas.

    February 6, 2013 at 10:34 am | Reply
    • Ed

      Any person that takes up arms against their nation is to be considered an enemy of the state and is to be dealt with as so.

      February 6, 2013 at 10:58 am | Reply
    • CW

      Thank you for your loyalty komrade. You will be moved to the front of the breadline and will soon be eligible for a 500 sq. ft. apartment. Thank you again for your unwavering support of the state.

      February 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  51. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    This is a good thing. If you are a American trying to harm The United States Of America you need to be KILLED. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. GO President Obama

    February 6, 2013 at 10:26 am | Reply
    • Michael Arnaud

      Gee, didn't GW Bush want or try to do something like this and didn't the Dems and the ACLU scream bloody hell over it? Why is it that Obama gets a pass on it?

      February 6, 2013 at 10:56 am | Reply
    • CW

      So when a republican decides to kill you will you say, Go Jeb?

      February 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  52. michaelfury

    So of course whoever used foreknowledge of the murders of 3,000 Americans to steal this money is on the list. Right?

    February 6, 2013 at 9:06 am | Reply
  53. ron a

    If you are an American and decide to become an Enemy of the U.S.A and support our Enemy well we should send A Drone to visit you DOGS. Fools just remember 9-11-01.

    February 6, 2013 at 8:27 am | Reply
  54. Jorge

    So what else is new? U.S. military governor/dictator Blanton Winship used lethal force against civilian demonstrators and bystanders during the Ponce Massacre in Puerto Rico in 1937, Puerto Ricans had been U.S. citizens for 20 years by then. 6 years before that Cornelius P. Rhoads, a U.S.-backed Josef Mengele precursor, secretly performed lethal cancer experiments on unsuspecting Puerto Rican patients. By the U.S. Navy's own admission, several "live fire incidents" were reported during "target practice" on Vieques Island during the 1990s, one of them resulting in the death of a Navy-employed civilian security guard at his post. The U.S. has always been long-winded yet short-armed on human rights, even those of its own citizens, with its borders and without.

    February 6, 2013 at 8:14 am | Reply
    • holisticconcepts

      Well Said Jorge...Oh and don't forget Tuskegee experiments. The Government tends to often hide its own atrocities under loosely defined articles like this one. It's nothing new.

      February 6, 2013 at 11:28 am | Reply
  55. ghengisjohn

    hrmm what gets me about all this is the fact that its okay to target a single american civillian who wasnt fighting or shooting at anyone yet noone pulled the trigger with the drones flying over benghazi when they were actively blowing up our ambassador did they have to be on the hit list too?

    February 6, 2013 at 7:59 am | Reply
  56. NY Veteran

    So now we see the formula for the manner in which the democrats will defeat themselves. After winning big in the elections, after the self destruction of the Tea Party and the GOP, after winning on social issues and guns, and healthcare and a number of common sense measure held up for years by the GOP, after all that, the idiotic cartoon character wing of the democratic party wants to stop us from using drones to kill our enemies while we are at war. The only way that the democrats could lose after all of these wins is from within, and here is the first sighting of the stupidity that will do just that. So listen up DNC, caucuses and elected leaders, shut the idiots up or you will be the GOP in about a year. FOOLS!

    February 6, 2013 at 7:56 am | Reply
    • unbelievable

      Sir – I believe it is you who are a fool and an idiot!

      February 6, 2013 at 10:00 am | Reply
  57. Nick - Chicago

    Hey Folks do you think al qeda have these discussions before they kill our boys?

    February 6, 2013 at 7:05 am | Reply
  58. Triggertried

    So uh, is there a rising threat to Americans by terrorist? Last time I looked the last successful terrorist attack was on 9/11.

    February 6, 2013 at 6:53 am | Reply
    • Nat Reader

      Benghazi to name one.....

      February 6, 2013 at 10:57 am | Reply
  59. Joaquin

    At this point, James Bond must be very jealous. His "license to kill" is a joke.

    February 6, 2013 at 6:43 am | Reply
  60. Humberto

    confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” - even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

    "In the Department’s view, a lethal operation conducted against a U.S. citizen whose conduct poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States would be a legitimate act of national self-defense that would not violate the assassination ban. Similarly, the use of lethal force, consistent with the laws of war, against an individual who is a legitimate military target would be lawful and would not violate the assassination ban.”

    February 6, 2013 at 6:05 am | Reply
    • Humberto

      Isn't it a crime to reveal confidential information ? Is: it confidential after the media reports it? Is the policy set forth of execution without proof legal? Who decides?

      February 6, 2013 at 6:20 am | Reply
      • Humberto

        Is the policy confidential or the people that made it ?

        February 6, 2013 at 6:27 am |
  61. massoud

    Al Awaki's 16 year old son who was An American Citizen, born in Denver Colorado was killed by Mien Fuhrer Obama during the Drone Strike. The boy had never done anything to necessitate his death by Mien Fuhrer Obama. Why not publish his photo for this story CNN ?

    February 5, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Reply
    • George Patton-2

      Quite true massoud, quite true. Killer Obama already has far more blood on his filthy hands than all the members of the Chicago mob both past and present! And this pig is our President, too! This goes to show just what a sick society that we're now living in!

      February 5, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Reply
      • Nat Reader

        Wow....amazing how quickly we forget the Bush era of drone attacks

        February 6, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  62. Jose79845

    How far away is Obama from sending drones against American citizens overseas who sell a few pounds of marijuana once in awhile?

    February 5, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Reply
    • Thomas

      Get real.

      February 5, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Reply
      • Bohemer

        It's a legitimate question on such slippery slope actions..

        February 6, 2013 at 4:56 am |
    • Nat Reader

      The same distance we are from 18 year olds that drink beer in Germany....

      February 6, 2013 at 10:59 am | Reply
    • Nat Reader

      Yet none of you minded the Bush Patriot Act.....if you want a real slippery slope

      February 6, 2013 at 11:01 am | Reply
      • massoud

        Obama extended the Patriot Act by having a robo pen sign it how Orwellian of him, not only did Obama extend the Patriot Act he signed into law the NDAA, which alows the president to use the military to detain indefinitely any American citizen anytime and anywhere without a charge and can not only hold them indefinitely without a charge or trial but can rendition and torture and kill without due process.

        February 6, 2013 at 11:14 am |
  63. Where are the Libs and Bruce Springsteen???

    Where are the liberals today (like Bruce Springsteen) and the outcry of No Due Process, To Much Wire Tappings and No Habeas Corpus???? Today..Gitmo still open….., Patriot Act Stronger…. and Drone Killings over Water Boarding is A Okay

    February 5, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Reply
    • massoud

      they are to embarrassed to associate themselves with the fraud on Pennsylvania Avenue.

      February 5, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Reply
    • Bohemer

      Libs are mostly in Libya. Any other question on Geography?

      February 6, 2013 at 4:57 am | Reply
  64. Jose79845

    Osama Bin Obama is now the leading terrorist of the world.

    February 5, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Reply
    • Nat Reader

      He has a while to catch up to Bush and all his drone attacks, waterboarding, etc....

      February 6, 2013 at 11:02 am | Reply
  65. common sense

    Nothing to worry about folks! hand over your rifles...

    February 5, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Reply
    • Joaquin

      Your rifle won't protect you from an AGM-114R Hellfire II missile fired from an MQ-9 Reaper drone circling 25,000 feet above your head; nor will you even hear the incoming ordnance, with its Mach 1.3 approach speed. Nor can you target those brave heroes operating the drone, who are 12,000 miles away, on the other side of the world. Good luck!

      February 6, 2013 at 6:39 am | Reply
  66. JohnnyDH

    I think my neighbor is sympathetic to the war on terror. When they hit him with the drones, I hope my house does not get damaged.

    February 5, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  67. massoud

    Solyndra ,Fast and Furious, Violating the War Powers Act by not having a Congressional Vote to attack Libya, Killing American Citizens without a charge or trial. Impeach the Dictator Now.

    February 5, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Reply
    • cd

      bottom line, a threat to the USA needs to be eliminated. Drone strike gets it done, without endangering more US soldiers. Your option is to go there and bring this Traitor/terrorist back to the US so he can lawyer up, and the US would spend 1000's of hours prosecuting him. I am not a fan of the current President, but this is an economical solution to countering Terrorists.

      February 6, 2013 at 10:43 am | Reply
      • massoud

        Al Alwakis 16 year old son was Killed by Obamas drone strike in Yemen, what about his rights as an American Citizen.

        February 6, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  68. nick

    It is an argument that falls in line with the law of war:

    1. We are in war with al qaeda.
    2. The war with Al qaeda is not a conventional was- there are not two countries fighting against each other, rather one is an organization with no geographical boundaries.
    3. Al qaeda does not follow the laws of war and is not protected by the Geneva conventions.
    4. A member of Al qaeda is an enemy combatant and under the law of war can be killed legally.
    5. US citizens who join al qaeda will be treated similarly as a US citizen would if it were to join another country fighting the US:

    For instance, if in World War II, a united states citizen went to fight for Germany against the US, the US citizen could be legally killed in battle.
    6. A US citizen volunteering for al qaeda could be killed legally in the current war with al qaeda.

    February 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Reply
    • Joaquin

      The US has not declared war on Al-quaeda, nor could they, since it is not a country. Since it has no formal citizenship, there is no genuine criterion for "membership" in the group. Therefore, anyone is eligible to be labeled as Al-quaeda, including me and you.

      February 6, 2013 at 6:32 am | Reply
      • cd

        You obviously never spent any time in the Military or deployed to Iraq and AFG to make an ignorant statement like this.

        February 6, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • Nat Reader

        Go talk to Bush then...he started it and those concepts

        The George W. Bush administration defined the following objectives in the War on Terror:[49]
        Defeat terrorists such as Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and destroy their organizations
        Identify, locate and destroy terrorists along with their organizations
        Deny sponsorship, support and sanctuary to terrorists
        End the state sponsorship of terrorism
        Establish and maintain an international standard of accountability with regard to combating terrorism
        Strengthen and sustain the international effort to fight terrorism
        Work with willing and able states
        Enable weak states
        Persuade reluctant states
        Compel unwilling states
        Interdict and disrupt material support for terrorists
        Eliminate terrorist sanctuaries and havens
        Diminish the underlying conditions that terrorists seek to exploit
        Partner with the international community to strengthen weak states and prevent (re)emergence of terrorism
        Win the war of ideals
        Defend US citizens and interests at home and abroad
        Implement the National Strategy for Homeland Security
        Attain domain awareness
        Enhance measures to ensure the integrity, reliability, and availability of critical physical and information-based infrastructures at home and abroad
        Integrate measures to protect US citizens abroad
        Ensure an integrated incident management capability

        February 6, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • bankrupt1

      is it like jewish globalists? they are in every country and no one country?

      February 6, 2013 at 7:52 am | Reply
  69. Areyoucrazy

    All traitors deserve to be droned!!! Crazy jihadi nut jobs, and anyone (including americans) that cause terror alongside them....Your time will come. Time to meet Allah!!

    February 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Reply
    • John Geheran

      Another senseless comment from another weak minded Tea Partier! This kind of ignorance as show above should be against the law! Is the bozo who posted the above really that ignorant or just that full of hate? With these Tea Partiers these days, it's really hard to tell!

      February 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Reply
      • tpbco

        Especially, if you are not very john.

        Don't you know a simple troll or do you just go off for no reason.

        Likely a Tea Party member did your wife and you aren't man enough to do anything but sound off on the internet.

        Sorry loser, way more than the troll you responded too.

        February 5, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
      • tea partier comment

        Do you have any idea what 95% of the 'tea partiers' believe in? Maybe you should learn to read something beside propaganda. I attended a meeting to learn more and discovered that they spent 98% of the time discussing local issues and ways to conserve funding to extend what was allocated to their district and make it stretch further. It seemed to be a organization of neighborhood folks dealing with fiscal issues almost exclusively.

        Doing the typical democrat tea partier comment dilutes whatever the goal was of your comment.

        February 6, 2013 at 11:25 am |
      • CW

        Actually most Tea Partiers are libertarians and are against this. Fail. Stop being an Obamabot and think for your self sometime.

        February 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  70. skytech

    we already seeing this happen now, they are demonizing gun owners. And soon they be on that list. just saying what going on in the media.

    February 5, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  71. Wastrel

    These people are US citizens only in name; in reality, they are defectors to the enemy who are making war on the US. They do not reside in the US. There is no thought of targeting US citizens within the US like this - they will be arrested and treated as criminals. This memo is not a policy statement, anyway. There is nothing wrong with it. This is hardly even news.

    February 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Reply
    • tpbco

      Except if a Republican did this, liberals would be screaming BLOODY MURDER.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Reply
      • Jehemev

        I do not disagree with the use of drones for defense of preemptive measures; kill the enemy with any means necessary. However if this had been done by Bush, the democrats or liberals would say that he is isolating America further.

        February 5, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
      • txpharm

        Some Democrats are screaming. A letter for details on this policy Signed by GOP and Dem Senators including Ron Wyden was sent to Obama.

        February 6, 2013 at 2:54 am |
  72. Camarillo Kid

    They could have used this same logic to murder Huey Newton or Abbey Hoffman back in the 60's. It is nonsense.

    February 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  73. stevephoenix

    I support a GOP filibuster of John Brennan.
    Deny appointment of John Brennan.

    February 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • American_Fury

      Still upset about Mitt getting cushed in the election, huh sweetie? Don't worry it will only hurt for another 4 years or so. You'll be fine baby girl.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Reply
      • Kurt

        Amazing that all the Dems that wanted Bush on trial for war crimes for water-boarding terrorists but are so silent when Obama wants to kill Americans. You can't water-board but it is ok to kill? Obama spoke in Egypt how the rule of law will prevail when it comes to interrogations and that we will not water board. Hey Dems, where is the outcry now?

        February 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
      • tpbco

        Kurt- All you're going to get is crickets.

        You can always tell the liberals in the room...just look for the biggest hypocrites.

        February 5, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
      • nick

        Kurt, does that mean you think that Americans who join Al qaeda should not be harmed? I am trying to understand your opinion. I would think conservatives would be supporting these actions rather than being against them.

        February 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
      • donnie

        Harmed is fine with me, once they have had their due proccess.

        February 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
      • Jose79845

        Where is the proof that someone is a member of al Qaeda? Just because Obama sees it as a serious decision does not make it correct. Look at his decision to keep marijuana illegal.

        February 5, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
  74. lolitic2

    Some Americans need to be targeted, especially those that don't agree with me.

    February 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Reply
    • terminator

      John Connor is the prime target.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  75. Christian

    Good guys 1+? Bad guys 0. All hail the almighty drone.

    February 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Reply
    • Star-Spangled Bullsh!t

      Dozens of murdered children in Pakistan and Yemen would disagree with you.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Reply
      • cd

        SS BS; If you don't like it than leave the USA, and take your BS with you.

        February 6, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  76. Mark

    I have no issue with killing the proverbial "bad guy", even in some rare instances where they might even be an American; but I find it unfortunate so many cannot seem to fathom what a slippery slope this could come to be. The legal opinion for this policy paper ought to be released and debated.

    February 5, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  77. Greg Faith

    Drones will take over the air space and kill whom ever the USA wants. You just won't know about it. And probably never will once they have been allowed to. If you plot against us, and they find out, you will die trying to carry out your act of terror.

    February 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  78. cntry

    Does not matter if overseas or in the US. if a U.S. citizen targets this country, you lost those rights, became an enemy, and have no problem with drones doing the work. Saves on court costs as well.

    February 5, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Reply
    • I want it now

      You're a fool. If you give that kind of power to your government they will eventually abuse it and you will be at the end of a missile from a drone one day and regret your above statement. And this will all be due to Americans complacency.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Reply
    • Ellen

      Even Timothy McVeigh was given due process!

      February 5, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • Star-Spangled Bullsh!t

      I see you've taken the 'u' out of 'cntry'.

      February 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Reply
  79. mike

    coming soon: Memo OKs military killing Americans in the USA.

    February 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Reply
    • Alinoge74

      That's silly. Does the man in the above photo LOOK like an American to you? He's a terrorist above all.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Reply
      • Joe

        Bill Ayers is a terrorist.

        February 5, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
      • Hank

        Really? Please describe exactly whan "an American" looks like?

        February 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
      • just the facts maam

        You're a turd.

        February 5, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
      • Mike

        What is an American? What does an American stand for? What does it take to be an American?

        February 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • American_Fury

      You better hope not, if it passes you'll have to hide in mommy's basement for an even longer time.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Reply
    • Thomas

      Been done on large scale 1860 to 1865.

      February 5, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  80. Dave

    Sad to say, but al Qaeda won the war on terrorism. America gave up its freedoms and rights. We lost.

    February 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply
    • American_Fury

      No you're lost davie boy. We are in complete control of our own fate in this country. We have rights that many other countries will never have. Some states even support gay marriage, that should cheer you up.

      February 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Reply
      • palintwit

        You're so naive, it's cute.

        February 5, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
      • billindetroit

        "We are in complete control of our own fate in this country. "

        Clearly you have yet to read the Patriot Act, the most recent NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act ... which made me a terrorist for canning the surplus from my garden) or ANY of the recent Executive Orders.

        None of those rights will continue to exist if Obama and Feinstein have their way with the new gun-grab laws.
        If you DO get around to reading them, my friend, you'll realize that we may have just had our last Presidential election. Ever. The LEGAL framework for enslaving all Americans is already in place and the 1.6 Billion bullets (hollow point - can't be used by the military outside of the country) the DHS has purchased, followed by an additional 26 Million bullets for the National Weather Service ( really? the NWS ???) are meant to enforce those legalisms whenever the administration decides it's time.

        So ... are you REALLY in COMPLETE control?

        February 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
      • Joaquin

        Billindetroit, mass murders are not committed with bullets, that is way too expensive and inefficient. When the National Weather Service starts stocking up on Zyklon B, then it's time to worry.

        February 6, 2013 at 6:51 am |
  81. Hank

    It's great to see Obama one-upping Bush as far as treatment of hostiles goes. Torture is child's play.

    February 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Reply
    • ToldUso

      Really, you don't see the distinction? Our military is allowed to kill enemy combatants. But we are allowed to torture them. You know, those silly Geneva rules set up after the horrors of WWII and all.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Reply
      • ToldUso

        Dang, are NOT allowed to torture them. No edit button.

        February 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • Hank

        I know. Killing US citizens without a trial is awesome if Obama does it. He's a Nobel Peace Prize winner so it must be ok, right?

        February 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
      • awooff


        February 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • massoud

      Obama is on his way to becoming a Dictator on many levels.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply
      • snowdogg

        partisan word junk

        February 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
      • massoud

        Funny one Snowdogg I did not vote for Obummer or Romney.

        February 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
      • billindetroit

        All the pieces except enforcing the coming gun grab legislation is in place. The DHS is not expecting things to go smoothly but they ARE gearing up to win. Welcome to the most prosperous banana republic in history.

        February 5, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
      • cd

        Massoud, You are really showing your ignorance!

        February 6, 2013 at 10:55 am |
      • massoud

        cd- your stupidity proceeds your ignorance !

        February 6, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  82. Gbwarren

    And just like with anything else in life the biggest and baddest and richest don't have to play by the rules...this is the way of the world, deal

    February 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Reply
    • billindetroit


      February 5, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  83. Gbwarren

    America became powerful and is powerful because of a long list of things people would find offensive and appalling....I don't love that but it's the truth...and we all for the most part benefit from this...the freedoms we enjoy as Americans go hand in hand with this...ask slaves and Indians. we get to 2013 and get all noble

    February 5, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  84. sorberj

    For all of you wondering about the battlefield restriction, keep in mind that congress the use of force against Al Qaida wherever it operates. The legislation had no geographic distinction in it. This means that the "battlefield" in effect is anywhere and everywhere that Al Qaida, it's affiliates, or supporters happen to be. If you want to complain, complain about the congress that passed the resolution granting the authority to the president, don't complain about the president using that authority as directed by congress.

    February 5, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Reply
    • billindetroit

      Moreover, the continental US has been declared a battlefield ... which means it is unwise to say rude things about Michelle's butt. In fact, you probably shouldn't compliment it, either.

      February 5, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Reply
      • txpharm

        Has anyone seen Rep Jim Sensenbrenner since he apologized for saying Michelle Obama has A "large posterior." No one knows where he is including his lawyer.
        Maybe we should check Guantanamo.

        February 6, 2013 at 3:00 am |
      • sweetster

        Michelle's bottom should never have come into play in any context, however, she is married to a stupid butt, who refuses to wishes to share the American dream which was sacrificed for and fought for, with 11 million people who have broken the laws. Great way to assure votes for the democratic party in the future. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you, me amigo, El Presidente, Senor Obama. (sound of illegal Mexican applause in background)

        February 6, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
  85. Get a life

    And? Going after these turncoats and traitors should not be an issue. And no, there is no need for one of your "trials".

    February 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Reply
    • Hank

      You sound like a turncoat and traitor. You should not get a trial. A drone is on its way.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  86. boris

    Court of law! I like that. Only question is whose court of law? Since law is a standard created and upheld by people, it will change. People will fight for freedom from their government and them look to it for safety. In calling for our government to keep us safe, we will grant it more powers to control those we want safety from. In order for the government to do that, it will restrict the law abidding citizen with new law a portion of citizens will tolerate and support. As each opposing group does ths to the other, an overbearing government is formed and it will, over time, become feared by its own citizens and need to protect itself from its own citizens and laws will be created to do that. It will go far enough that the citizens will band together for the greater good of a better government and seek to overthrow the one they created. This cycle has been played out over and over and is being palyed out now. Often it takes a number of generatiosn and happens relatively slowly and is not really seen for what it is. Drones will someday fly within our borders and I bet there are alterations of current law being looked at in order to do this. Many citizens will support this. We will blame the government but it starts with the citizens. We are at that fine line where citizens are still in control but more and more are willing to enable the government which will disbable themselves. Nothing new. We've been doing this for ages and this period will be nothing more than part of those ages someday.

    February 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  87. Tembisa

    Reblogged this on World Chaos.

    February 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  88. Mike

    I love how all the conspiracy theorists and whackos say this is "the start" of it. The NSA and CIA has been secretly killing Americans across the globe and even here in the nation. The Drone strikes just put government authorized execution into the spotlight. Does anybody really care? Don't travel to the tribal regions of Pakistan or into Yemen with a one-way ticket and then start consorting with terrorists and you won't have to worry about a drone putting a hellfire missile on your head. Wahhhh the 'innocent civilians'. Go watch the news footage of 9/11 and watch the men, women and children cheering throughout all of these regions we're using drones in today, who were burning flags and celebrating the slaughter of our thousands of civilians on 9/11. Stop wasting your tears on them when they won't be crying for you. Oh and please go on to tell me about how they're justified to hate us, since it was clear from their response to the 9/11 attacks that they all want us dead. It was pre-Afghanistan and Iraq Backing Israel is no reason to want the slaughter of ALL Americans, so what's the next and only reason? Putting troops on their 'holy ground' in Saudi Arabia during the golf war? Yeah, really justified.

    I hate Obama, but I support his drone operations fully. One less terrorist at the cost of 5-20 anti-America chanting civilians is a good deal.

    February 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  89. Jason M

    So does Obama go to a military base with his notebook "kill list" and get to fly the drones himself? I guess eating dog as a child caused some weird blood thirst he needs sated these days. Did Obama get to blow Abdulrahman al-Awlaki to smithereens himself? Does he feel good about killing a 16 year old American citizen? Was he on the kill list to?

    February 5, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  90. Imus

    drone on...drone on. It is always nice to be the first. First to drop an atomic bomb and now we live in fear of all those who have one. Launch the first drone and use it without regard to the airspace or laws of others, that too will someday be the bed we made that we will be required to sleep in. Then again, new technologies grant us different ways of waging wars. Perhaps drones and wide use of them will bring us pawns of life some peace? Perhaps, once every government in the world secures pin-point strike drones that never harm innocents, only politicians will live in fear and the rest of us can drop our guns and ballistic weapons and live in peace? I wonder what a world would be like if politicians and leaders who waged war were considered legal targets of others peaceful drones no matter where where in the world they were. John Lennons' "Imagine there's isn't hard to do." comes to mind.

    February 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Reply
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