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Killer drones: Where's the accountability?

• Nat Hentoff via
When the Obama administration officially declared that an American citizen -- Anwar al-Awlaki, a radically influential global preacher of murderous jihad -- is on a targeted list to be tracked and killed by CIA pilotless drones, New York Times reporter Scott Shane made a constitutional point that had no discernible impact on Congress or the citizenry at large:

"To eavesdrop on the terrorism suspect, intelligence agencies would have to get a court warrant. But designating him for death ... required no judicial review." (New York Times, May 13)

On June 24, the president's closest adviser on counterterrorism, John Brennan -- a former high-level CIA official who was deeply involved in techniques for interrogating terrorism suspects that ignored the U.S. Torture Act -- indicated that more American citizens could become targets of CIA pilotless drones.

In an interview with Washington Times reporter, Eli Lake (June 24), Brennan referred to "dozens of Americans (who) have joined terrorist groups and are posing a threat to the United States."

Said Brennan: "To me, terrorists should not be able to hide behind their passports and their citizenship, and that includes U.S. citizens, whether they are overseas or whether they are here in the United States. What we need to do is to apply the appropriate tool and the appropriate response."

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