US Debating Whether to Kill American Suspect via Drone

Justice Department building its case against the suspected terrorist
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2014 8:39 AM CST
An unmanned drone.   (AP Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection, File)

(Newser) – Amid reports that the Obama administration is easing up on drone strikes in Pakistan comes a report of an entirely different flavor: that the US is trying to decide whether to kill one of its own citizens via drone strike. This according to the AP, which has spoken with four US officials who say the unnamed American citizen is an al-Qaeda member who has US blood on his hands. CIA drones have their eye on him—he is in an unnamed country that refuses US military action on its soil and has proven unable to apprehend him itself—but cannot strike unless the Justice Department is able to build a case against him, which it is in the process of trying to do.

Two of the officials say the man has been behind deadly attacks against US citizens overseas and continues to plan attacks supported by IEDs. But one official says there is much uncertainty within the Defense Department as to whether the man is dangerous enough to merit the potential domestic backlash of killing an American without charging him with a crime or trying him; but another official says the Pentagon has recommended lethal action. The officials said the suspected terrorist is well-guarded and in a fairly remote location, so any unilateral attempt by US troops to capture him would be risky and even more politically explosive than a US missile strike.

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