Holder: if we decide it’s ok to kill someone, it’s ok to kill them

This seems reasonable if you don’t think about it:

“Given the nature of how terrorists act and where they tend to hide, it may not always be feasible to capture a United States citizen terrorist who presents an imminent threat of violent attack,” Mr. Holder said in a speech at Northwestern University’s law school. “In that case, our government has the clear authority to defend the United States with lethal force.”

“Some have argued that the president is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces,” Mr. Holder said. “This is simply not accurate. ‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”

but if you do think about it,it’s really quite awful. Notice there is no outside oversight–the memo that supposedly made the case to allow the killing of a US citizen (Awlaki in Yemen) is secret. Not only is there no outside judge or jury, there’s not even a public disclosure of the decision process or the facts. This shoulodn’t be tolerated in a free society.

Kevin Drum has more and the full speech is here. Here is Holder’s idea of ‘oversight’:

That is not to say that the Executive Branch has – or should ever have – the ability to target any such individuals without robust oversight. Which is why, in keeping with the law and our constitutional system of checks and balances, the Executive Branch regularly informs the appropriate members of Congress about our counterterrorism activities, including the legal framework, and would of course follow the same practice where lethal force is used against United States citizens.

Yes, he thinks that telling Congress after the fact is sufficient oversight.

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