2009: President Obama authorizes assassinations of Americans abroad

Dennis Blair Director of National Intelligence disclosed that President Obama authorized the intelligence community to assassinate American abroad who are considered terrorist threats to the U.S. Some House members raised concerns about these latest developments. Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who criticized the intelligence community for misconduct surrounding the 2001 attack on a plane piloted by American missionaries in Peru. He and others questioned the policy:

“The targeting of Americans — it’s a very sensitive issue, but again there’s been more information in the public domain than what has been shared with this committee,” Hoekstra said. “There is no clarity…what is the legal framework?

An Op-Ed  by Glenn Greenwald, a lawyer and journalist criticized the intelligence community’s newly revealed authority to kill Americans abroad arguing that “special permissions” for assassinations should not serve as sufficient credentials for murder. Without any judicial approval or oversight, Greenwald says, this process is “basically giving the President the power to impose death sentences on his own citizens without any charges or trial.” (Nick Wing. Dennis Blair: U.S. Can Kill Suspected American Terrorists Abroad, Huffington Post, April, 2010)