Yesterday, Holder gave a speech on the targeted killing of Americans abroad:
Ackerman still has questions:
Holder did not explain why U.S. forces could not have captured Awlaki instead of killing him, nor what its criteria are for determining on future missions that suspected U.S. citizen terrorists must be killed, rather than captured. Holder did not explain why Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, whom a missile strike killed two weeks after his father’s death, was a lawful target. Holder did not explain how a missile strike represents due process, or what the standards for due process the government must meet when killing a U.S. citizen abroad. Holder did not explain why the government can only target U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism for death overseas and not domestically.
In a separate post, Spencer opines that such killing "must require more protections for a citizen’s rights than the blithe, trust-us assurances that Eric Holder provided." Serwer was also unsatisfied by Holder's speech:
If the standards for when the government can send a deadly flying robot to vaporize you sound a bit subjective, that's because they are. Holder made clear that decisions about which citizens the government can kill are the exclusive province of the executive branch, because only the executive branch possess the "expertise and immediate access to information" to make these life-and-death judgments.
Lucy Steigerwald joins the chorus:
The most frustrating part about this might just be how generous and transparent Obama's people think they are being by explaining this. But why bother with the speech at all if it's always going to come down to trust us, this is legal?