Meek: Obama can ‘absolutely’ authorize assassination of American citizen 1 - Florida IndependentDemocratic U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek declared last Thursday that he believes President Obama “absolutely” has the right to authorize the assassination of an American citizen, a controversial power the Obama Administration has asserted in recent months.

The Atlantic‘s Max Fisher reported in February on testimony from Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair in which Blair told Congress that “the U.S. can target Americans to be killed if it believes they are involved in terrorism.” Fisher referred to an earlier Washington Post story that revealed the administration possessed a “shortlist of U.S. citizens specifically targeted for killing or capture,” and that it had added the New Mexico-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki — currently hiding in Yemen, according to The New York Times — to the list.

Fisher’s piece raises questions about the criteria by which American authorities decide if a citizen should be targeted:

It would be one thing if [al-Awlaki’s activity] implied criminal or even military charges, because at least those allow a judge to evaluate the evidence and the accused to mount a defense. But in the current scheme, the accused does not even know he is accused, nor does an independent judge approve the White House’s decision. That person is simply killed.

No one is arguing that Awlaki isn’t a dangerous and bad person. But if he meets the criteria for targeted and unreviewed killing by the White House, it is a shocking indication of just how broad those criteria have become. More to the point, it is a reminder that, without congressional oversight or court approval, the White House is free to rewrite those criteria at any time it chooses and to reinterpret them in any way it sees fit.

In a letter sent to President Obama on April 28 (which you can read in full or download below), American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero called the targeted assassination of American citizens “unconstitutional” and asked Obama to “reject out of hand a program that would invest the CIA or the U.S. military with the unchecked authority to impose an extrajudicial death sentence on U.S. citizens.”

When asked at a candidate forum held in Sarasota Thursday afternoon if he believes President Obama does indeed possess the authority to order the assassination of an American citizen, Meek responded affirmatively. “If it’s in defense of our men and women in harm’s way, and he makes the decision to take someone out, absolutely,” Meek responded.

Romero’s letter:

ACLU Letter to President Obama

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Planned Parenthood worries Personhood Mississippi could spark ‘national movement’

On Wednesday, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards sent out an email imploring supporters to pay careful attention to the so-called Personhood movement, which has gained considerable support in Mississippi. “This ballot initiative is about more than just one state, writes Richards. Anti-choice activists hope that a win in Mississippi will lead to a national movement.”

Wasserman Schultz: GOP ‘war on women’ big help for Obama in 2012

President Obama and the Democratic National Committee have begun courting female voters for the upcoming presidential election. Even though many women voters defected last year after voting in record numbers for the president in 2008, DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Pembroke Pines, says the GOP's current anti-reproductive rights stance will be a big help in recapturing those voters.

Powerful Tampa Bay interests campaign for local light rail funding: News. Politics. Media

With plans for a federally funded high-speed rail line linking Tampa and Orlando on the fast track, some of the Tampa Bay area's most powerful political and business interests are pushing to secure funding for a connecting light rail system. But with local and state governments facing continued budget deficits across the board, those hopes rest on Hillsborough County citizens footing the bill. That means legions of taxpayers and anti-tax groups need convincing.