Obama orders Justice Department to send lawmakers bogus rationale for illegal drone wars, assassination of American citizens

Lawmakers to get classified rationale for drones:

A drumbeat of demands to see the document has swelled on Capitol Hill in recent days as the Senate Intelligence Committee prepares to hold a confirmation hearing for John Brennan, who helped manage the drone program, to be CIA director.
Those demands were only intensified by the leak this week of an unclassified “white paper” on how decisions are made to target U.S. citizens abroad that the Justice Department confidentially sent to key lawmakers last year. The unclassified memo says it is legal for the government to kill U.S. citizens abroad if it believes they are senior al-Qaida leaders continually engaged in operations aimed at killing Americans, even if there is no evidence of a specific imminent attack….

Earlier Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama was engaged in an internal process deliberation to determine how to balance the nation’s security needs with its values. He said Obama was committed to providing more information to Congress, even as he refused to acknowledge whether the drone memo even existed.

“He thinks that it is legitimate to ask questions about how we prosecute the war against al-Qaida,” Carney said. “These are questions that will be with us long after he is president and long after the people who are in the seats that they’re in now have left the scene.”

Justice’s unclassified 16-page white paper says that it is lawful to target al-Qaida linked U.S. citizens if they pose an “imminent” threat of violent attack against Americans and that delaying action against such people would create an unacceptably high risk. Such circumstances may necessitate expanding the concept of imminent threat, the memo says.

“The threat posed by al-Qaida and its associated forces demands a broader concept of imminence in judging when a person continually planning terror attacks presents an imminent threat,” the document added.

SOURCE

Liberals seem to be waking up to Obama’s hypocrisy, albeit slowly.

“We used to be afraid that President George W. Bush, pushed by his nefarious warmongering VP and a Department of Justice that justified medieval tortures, was going to expand executive branch powers to such levels as to threaten the very balance and foundation of our democracy.

“That’s why so many of us voted for Barack Obama — because we wanted somebody who was anti-war, who would close Guantanamo; somebody who knew and understood the Constitution not as some sacred sentimental Old Testament but as a covenant of fairness, with inviolable safeguards, between the governed and the government.

“One of those safeguards has always been due process — the idea that individuals are protected by a process of law from arbitrary action by the state. In other words, that the government must follow its own laws. In the U.S. Constitution, it’s so important that it’s stated twice, in the 5th and 14th amendments.

“Today, however, the media tells us that the president of the United States in the person of Barack Obama has now extended the power of his office to order the assassination of fellow citizens without a shred of due process.”

Just exactly how empty of constitutional muster Obama’s policy is can be seen in white papers acquired by NBC News this week which details the administration’s legal reasoning.

Here’s one of the juicier parts:  an “informed, high-level” official of the U.S. government may determine that the targeted American has been “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of a violent attack and “there is  no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.”

But neither “recently” — this week? last year? a presidential term ago? — or “activities” — actual killing? planning killing? drinking tea and talking approvingly of killing? — are defined, and in legalese, that’s not a detail.

Moreover, that “informed, high-level” official of the U.S. government, by definition, will not be an elected official — someone chosen by the people, for the people, to represent the people’s interests. That “informed, high-level” official will be a presidential appointee, and probably one strategically ranked so as not to even need congressional approval.

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