The US government can order the killing of American citizens even when there is no active intelligence accusing them of carrying out a specific terrorist attack, according to a confidential Justice Department legal memo obtained by NBC News.
The memo, or “white paper,” concludes that assassinations of American citizens are legal if the US government says they are “senior operational leaders” or al-Qaeda or “an associated force.” The Executive Branch can keep this information secret though, and no checks or balances from other branches of government are necessary.
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