US Can't Use 'Secret Evidence' to Kill a Citizen

Administration must explain the 'legal basis' for this move
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2010 1:54 PM CDT
A file photo of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.   (AP Photo/Muhammad ud-Deen, File)

(Newser) – News that the CIA has been given the green light to assassinate a US citizen has Spencer Ackerman filling out freedom-of-information requests to find out precisely why. We know that Anwar al-Awlaki is a New Mexico native who lives in Yemen and encourages attacks against Americans. The US cites "secret evidence" to say he's moved past the incitement phase into actual operations, but that's not enough to legally justify this extraordinary move, writes Ackerman at the Washington Independent.

Al-Awlaki's citizenship "entitles him to due process of law should the government seek to deprive him of life, liberty or property," he writes. "The administration may very well be making the correct evaluation of the threat al-Awlaki poses. But if citizenship means anything, it means that a citizen can’t be killed because the government uses secret evidence to say he or she is an intolerable threat." (Read more Anwar al-Awlaki stories.)

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