Awlaki makes the CIA hit list

posted at 8:48 am on April 7, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Like Andy McCarthy, I wonder whether the announcement by the Obama administration that it has approved an American traitor for the CIA’s approved assassination list for the first time will create a stir among those who criticized Barack Obama’s predecessor for human-rights violations.  Anwar al-Aulaqi (also spelled Awlaki) has long been suspected of an operational role in the 9/11 plot, and most recently had connections to both the Fort Hood massacre and the aborted Christmas Day attack by the EunuchBomber.  The move reflects a nation at war, not at prosecution:

A Muslim cleric tied to the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner has become the first U.S. citizen added to a list of suspected terrorists the CIA is authorized to kill, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

Anwar al-Aulaqi, who resides in Yemen, was previously placed on a target list maintained by the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command and has survived at least one strike carried out by Yemeni forces with U.S. assistance against a gathering of suspected al-Qaeda operatives.

Because he is a U.S. citizen, adding Aulaqi to the CIA list required special approval from the White House, officials said. The move means that Aulaqi would be considered a legitimate target not only for a military strike carried out by U.S. and Yemeni forces, but also for lethal CIA operations.

“He’s in everybody’s sights,” said the U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the topic’s sensitivity.

In one sense, it’s a bit silly to have to go through this exercise, although the abundance of formality does no real harm.  Aulaqi has conducted operations of war against the United States from abroad, and that makes him a legitimate target for our military and intelligence agents while abroad.  In fact, he hasn’t really hidden the fact, choosing to brag openly at times about it, shutting up only after a near-miss encounter with an American/Yemeni military strike.  People who conduct war against the US should not expect the criminal-prosecution treatment, but a military approach to their destruction.

If Aulaqi traveled back to the US and was captured, that would be different.  That would not be a military jurisdiction, and as a US citizen, he would handled by civilian authority with the protections of the Constitution.  But his citizenship gives him no special shield while abroad and conducting war against the United States, nor should it.  If he chooses to put himself on the battlefield by conspiring with al-Qaeda, then he shares their status and their vulnerability to the same kinds of operations we put in place for all other AQ targets.

Had the Bush administration made this announcement, the Left would be screaming from the high heavens about abuses of power.  Some of the more intellectually consistent on the Left may still, particularly Glenn Greenwald and a few others.  However, the main reaction to this obviously correct decision will probably be deafening silence; the Right will agree, and most of the Left will hesitate to criticize Obama.   It should be an interesting test for those who have been especially vocal about trying terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in federal court rather than in military tribunals, for it will put them in the position of demanding a Constitutional approach to foreign terrorists while tacitly approving a military/intelligence assassination for an American citizen.

Finally, one has to wonder why Aulaqi was the first to make this list.  I’d bet that Adam Gadahn is green with envy, and embarrassed that he’s just not important enough to get approval for a CIA assassination.


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Good hunting.

KillerKane on April 7, 2010 at 8:50 AM

why would they make this kind’ve announcement and give this POS an opportunity to dig in somewhere…

jbh45 on April 7, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Didn’t congress pass a law against a presidential order to assassinate someone? There was a presidential executive order that made the news when it was announced, right?

What changed? Well, there is a democrat president now that’s changed.

Skandia Recluse on April 7, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Awww. He looks just like that guy in “Jewel of the Nile”.

AubieJon on April 7, 2010 at 8:57 AM

forking input filter…..

Skandia Recluse on April 7, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Stifle yourself, HotAir!!!

Shy Guy on April 7, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Whack away. Can’t wait to see how the bedwetters on the left react to this.

JammieWearingFool on April 7, 2010 at 8:59 AM

Wow, can’t we just tone down the hate and anti-terrorist rhetoric a bit, President Obama????
/

hoosiermama on April 7, 2010 at 8:59 AM

I beleive that every American citizen is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This is what makes American citizenship unique. Awlaki is not some rogue jihadi from a foreign nation, he is an American (albeit still a jihadi). He should be tried in absentia, if found guilty he should be hunted down and killed or captured. We need a clear dilineation of treatment for American citzens and non-Americans. To simply declare that an American citizen is now a legitmate target of war without proper due process is a violation of our constitution.
You may not like it, but American citzenship guarantees us special treatment before our givernment. Even the suspected bad dudes.

paulsur on April 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM

why would they make this kind’ve announcement and give this POS an opportunity to dig in somewhere…

jbh45 on April 7, 2010 at 8:54 AM

So this guy can dig in, and also for Obama to look tough on the CVE. It’s win-win for His ‘O’ness.

Tommy_G on April 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM

I bet the left will be curiously quiet about this one.

BadgerHawk on April 7, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Awlaki makes the CIA hit list

I think this is a mistake. It’s my understanding that Awlaki has made the White House dinner party list, not the CIA hit list.

darwin on April 7, 2010 at 9:02 AM

This is not the Tiki Barber I thought I knew…

http://newyorkpost.com/p/news/local/timing_tiki_plays_field_TMZxMDNXxvBbNgVBToZL8O

ninjapirate on April 7, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Why now? He should have been on it for ages.

Dingbat63 on April 7, 2010 at 9:05 AM

Boy, this O’Bozo character is one reckless cowboy, sitting in the rear flank and sending our brave soldiers into an unjust war to kill civilians without due process.

Heh.

Jaibones on April 7, 2010 at 9:06 AM

This reinforces my observation that the people President Obama is most eager to fight are Americans.

BadgerHawk on April 7, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving jihadist.

JamesLee on April 7, 2010 at 9:13 AM

paulsur on April 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Do you even bother to read the post before you start slobbering?

katy the mean old lady on April 7, 2010 at 9:15 AM

paulsur on April 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM
Do you even bother to read the post before you start slobbering?

katy the mean old lady on April 7, 2010 at 9:15 AM

How does your very intelligent reply contribute positively to this discussion?

paulsur on April 7, 2010 at 9:16 AM

Get it on LiveLeak.com!

Akzed on April 7, 2010 at 9:18 AM

Is it just me, or,

Do you look at the photo and think ‘grad school writers’ workshop’?

Is it just me, or,

Does that make you want see him get ‘lit up’ even more?

Doorgunner on April 7, 2010 at 9:18 AM

How does your very intelligent reply contribute positively to this discussion?

paulsur on April 7, 2010 at 9:16 AM

Guess you didn’t.

katy the mean old lady on April 7, 2010 at 9:20 AM

Is it just me, or, …

Do you look at the photo and think ‘grad school writers’ workshop’?

Is it just me, or, …

Does that make you want see him get ‘lit up’ even more?

Doorgunner on April 7, 2010 at 9:18 AM

Nope, not just you. Paulsur is upset though.

katy the mean old lady on April 7, 2010 at 9:21 AM

I would hope, temporarily, the NCS (clandestine wing) of the CIA would dedicate a huge portion of its manpower to finding this guy, instead of bothering with the Taliban for a bit.

This guy is operating as an international hub and should be taken out ASAP. Come on!

blatantblue on April 7, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Well, here’s to seeing this guy with either a few rounds in him, or captured.

blatantblue on April 7, 2010 at 9:28 AM

Well, here’s to seeing this guy with either a few rounds in him, or captured.

blatantblue on April 7, 2010 at 9:28 AM

Captured,no. Lit up like a Christmas tree? Definitely.

katy the mean old lady on April 7, 2010 at 9:32 AM

While I agree with the decision, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the decision being made in the White House. I would expect a more formal situation where the DOJ goes in front of a federal judge and makes the case for terminating this guy’s citizenship rights.

Kafir on April 7, 2010 at 9:33 AM

I would expect a more formal situation where the DOJ goes in front of a federal judge and makes the case for terminating this guy’s citizenship rights.

Kafir on April 7, 2010 at 9:33 AM

He can only have his citizenship taken away in a US court of law. In theory he could be tried in absentia, but that would be extremely difficult. Treason and taking up arms against your country do not automatically render US citizenship null and void. He has to be tried per the 14th amendement.

Johnnyreb on April 7, 2010 at 9:36 AM

katy the mean old lady on April 7, 2010 at 9:32 AM

Eh frankly I hope we catch him live. The wealth of intel he possesses is so important!

The only tinge of regret I’ll feel if he gets sent to Allah, will be that we could have gotten some more intel possibly, not that he’s actually dead

:P

blatantblue on April 7, 2010 at 9:38 AM

I would expect a more formal situation where the DOJ goes in front of a federal judge and makes the case for terminating this guy’s citizenship rights.

Kafir on April 7, 2010 at 9:33 AM

agreed

blatantblue on April 7, 2010 at 9:39 AM

Eh frankly I hope we catch him live. The wealth of intel he possesses is so important!

The only tinge of regret I’ll feel if he gets sent to Allah, will be that we could have gotten some more intel possibly, not that he’s actually dead

:P

blatantblue on April 7, 2010 at 9:38 AM

We’d never get it. If he comes back he’ll be tried in a US court. You know the drill.

katy the mean old lady on April 7, 2010 at 9:45 AM

We’d never get it. If he comes back he’ll be tried in a US court. You know the drill.

katy the mean old lady on April 7, 2010 at 9:45 AM

I tend to think the CIA guys wouldn’t let him go without a good “interrogation,” if you will. It seems that under Panetta they are fighting the good fight.

blatantblue on April 7, 2010 at 9:47 AM

So when one decides to be a terrorist does one have to make a conscious effort to generally look like you need a shower and top it all off with a gourdy neck beard, or does it just come with the territory?

Alden Pyle on April 7, 2010 at 9:49 AM

I tend to think the CIA guys wouldn’t let him go without a good “interrogation,” if you will. It seems that under Panetta they are fighting the good fight.

blatantblue on April 7, 2010 at 9:47 AM

OK. Then kill him? Barry said they could.

katy the mean old lady on April 7, 2010 at 9:50 AM

paulsur on April 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM

I suspect you of being a dingbat.

Really Right on April 7, 2010 at 9:51 AM

So when one decides to be a terrorist does one have to make a conscious effort to generally look like you need a shower and top it all off with a gourdy neck beard, or does it just come with the territory?

Alden Pyle on April 7, 2010 at 9:49 AM

It’s kind of like a hog that goes feral. They start reverting quickly.

katy the mean old lady on April 7, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Captured,no. Lit up like a Christmas tree? Definitely.

katy the mean old lady on April 7, 2010 at 9:32 AM

Can’t we just capture him, then set him off with the fireworks at the Macy’s display in NYC on the 4th of July so we can all enjoy the occasion?

huskerdiva on April 7, 2010 at 10:07 AM

paulsur on April 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM

I suspect you of being a dingbat.

Really Right on April 7, 2010 at 9:51 AM

It is interesting that when people can not formulate an intelligent argument they resort to name calling.
I have absolutey no issues with hunting down and blowing to smithereens terrorists of all stripes and sizes. The key issue here though is that this is an American citizen. As such he has certain unique protections under our consitution. If we suddenly determine those protections don’t apply to him, they can just as easily not apply to you or I.
We have a President that wants to show to the world how we are different. Here is an example of how to do it. Try this man in absentia, bring evidence against him, find him guilty, and then proceed. It is called due process. As Americans we are all guaranteed it.
If you diagree, then state that and explain why, callling me dingbat only proves that I have the better argument here.

paulsur on April 7, 2010 at 10:12 AM

Can’t we just capture him, then set him off with the fireworks at the Macy’s display in NYC on the 4th of July so we can all enjoy the occasion?

huskerdiva on April 7, 2010 at 10:07 AM

Works for me!

katy the mean old lady on April 7, 2010 at 10:16 AM

If you diagree, then state that and explain why, callling me dingbat only proves that I have the better argument here.

paulsur on April 7, 2010 at 10:12 AM

You don’t. That unique protection kinda stops when you are holed up in a war zone. Your concern trolling is irrelevant.

katy the mean old lady on April 7, 2010 at 10:19 AM

If you diagree, then state that and explain why, callling me dingbat only proves that I have the better argument here.

paulsur on April 7, 2010 at 10:12 AM

If he’s known to be hanging around with terrorists, then the CIA now has no problems sending a Hellfire up his ass. He lays down with dogs, he wakes up with fleas. His citizenship guarantees him nothing when in the comfort of the enemy.

This just formalizes that.

uknowmorethanme on April 7, 2010 at 10:25 AM

You don’t. That unique protection kinda stops when you are holed up in a war zone

Where in the constitution does it say that an American citizen gives up right of due process? This individual is not in a war zone. He is not in Iraq, he is not in Afghanistan. There is no trolling in my commentary or reply, it is called debate. To state that my choosing to participate in this discussion is nothing more than trolling, is to stifle my right to enter this discussion.
When name calling does not work, is the trolling accusation the next step to attempt to run off those who present coherent arguments for which you are unable to present rebuttal to?

paulsur on April 7, 2010 at 10:25 AM

He made himself a target when he took up arms against this country.

thekingtut on April 7, 2010 at 10:27 AM

The 14th Amendment states:

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Awlaki is not within U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, I can only assume that the 14th Amendment does not apply to him. I don’t have the energy to look up legal precedent.

uknowmorethanme on April 7, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Paulsur, because of the nature of this war, the entire planet is a war zone. From any of the Stans, to Yemen, to northern Virginia, or Detroit. They don’t fight within any one nations borders, but world wide.

thekingtut on April 7, 2010 at 10:30 AM

paulsur on April 7, 2010 at 10:12 AM

I don’t think you understand the war on terror. The whole world is a battlefield and your enemies can be killed on that battlefield. If he were in the US, I doubt that some CIA assassin would ring his doorbell and shoot him.

Vince on April 7, 2010 at 10:31 AM

Well my comment went down a rabbit hole somewhere! If he’s in the US arrest him, if he is on the battlefield, which is certainly not defined for the terrorists, kill him!

Vince on April 7, 2010 at 10:36 AM

If they waste this guy, who are they going to hire for “Islamic outreach”?

Travis Bickle on April 7, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Something stinks, is there a fatwa against the guy, which yobummer is bound by duty to uphold? Why not charge the guy with treason, try in absentia, convict, and then execute him? Why everything has to be so unprecedented with yobummer?

anikol on April 7, 2010 at 10:59 AM

According to 8 CFR: TITLE 8 > CHAPTER 12 > SUBCHAPTER III > Part III > § 1481(a)(7) , he could legitimately lose his citizenship for taking up arms against the United States. Which would positively solve any messy issues.

JeffWeimer on April 7, 2010 at 10:59 AM

Obama and Holder have blood on their hands because the investigation of this guy was dropped when they took over, getting Fort Hood Patriots killed and nearly 300+ innocents over Detroit!
Read it here:
http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/13178/comment-page-1#comment-512800

dhunter on April 7, 2010 at 10:59 AM

So KSM gets a full-blown civilian trial with all the Miranda rights and Constitutional protections that go along with it.

An American citizen gets assassinated with no trial and no defense.

Imagine what Obama would be saying if Bush ordered this hit…

Troika37 on April 7, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Troika37 on April 7, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Obama and Holder dropped the ball! This guy was under investigation until their regime took over and scotched the investigation because he was a US citizen.

That allowed contact with an Army officer to proceed with eventual orders to kill the unarmed innocent patriots at Fort Hood.

The two going to trial should be Obama and Holder!
Now he must pay the ultimate price to protect Obama and Holder from the truth.

dhunter on April 7, 2010 at 11:20 AM

They will be required to Mirandize the corpse.

R Square on April 7, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Are these the same extremist focused around a non specific belief system?

R Square on April 7, 2010 at 12:26 PM

He should be tried in absentia…
paulsur on April 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM<

Trial in absentia is not any more constitutional either. The same bill of right (in particular, 6th Amendment) guarantees him the right to face his accuser (and trial in absentia is especially lacking in that aspect, not to mention his fair representation). Additional steps will need to be taken to establish that Mr. Awlaki forfeits his right to face his accuser, and frankly, either way it’s all dog and pony show—does anyone seriously believe Mr. Awlaki is innocent; which court will have jurisdiction; can impartial jury be found for him; and most importantly, should a “not guilty” verdict be rendered, will we all accept that verdict and move on?

Given a choice between conducting a show court (like in China) and denying due process to a citizen who is conducting war against America (and isn’t exactly seeking to exercise his constitutional right for due process), I would choose the latter.

novakyu on April 7, 2010 at 12:32 PM

He should be tried in absentia…

But first in the US….

~sarc.

R Square on April 7, 2010 at 12:50 PM

The only bad thing is that he’ll die by a bullet or a bomb. That’s a soldier’s death. He deserves to be hanged, thirteen steps to a well-soaped rope and a six-foot drop.

njcommuter on April 7, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Hmm, Rush just gave some good food for thought.

rollthedice on April 7, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Is there any evidence that this guy actually provided material support to terrorists? From what I’ve heard, he has only offered spiritual guidance. We shouldn’t employ the instrument of war against inspiration. It’s grossly disproportionate, whether the person siding with the enemy is a citizen or not. What if the Brits were assassinating pastors of churches attended by IRA members during the Troubles? There would certainly be massive outrage on this side of the pond.

year_of_the_dingo on April 7, 2010 at 1:25 PM

What did Rush say I had to go back to work?

dhunter on April 7, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Aulaqi has conducted operations of war against the United States from abroad, and that makes him a legitimate target for our military and intelligence agents while abroad. In fact, he hasn’t really hidden the fact, choosing to brag openly at times about it, shutting up only after a near-miss encounter with an American/Yemeni military strike.

You didn’t choose to link to any evidence for these claims. Can you substantiate them with proof?

If we’re empowering an American President to kill American citizens without trial – something I cannot support and for which I see no legal basis – I’m hoping that at least there’s a requirement of a similar standard of proof to death penalty cases: beyond a reasonable doubt.

At this point, I definitely think Awlaki is a bad guy, but I’m not completely convinced that he’s committed acts of war against the US.

I’m surprised more supposedly “small-government conservatives” aren’t more skeptical of this, given that it’s a more radical power grab than anything in the health care bill. President Obama is now claiming the right to murder you without any checks and balances. That doesn’t creep you out a bit?

orange on April 7, 2010 at 1:55 PM

According to 8 CFR: TITLE 8 > CHAPTER 12 > SUBCHAPTER III > Part III > § 1481(a)(7) , he could legitimately lose his citizenship for taking up arms against the United States. Which would positively solve any messy issues.

JeffWeimer on April 7, 2010 at 10:59 AM

This sounds interesting, and it’s a method I would greatly prefer.

However, what exactly is the definition of “taking up arms” against the US? I believe Awlaki is, at worst, more of a mastermind type. He doesn’t actually pull any triggers or anything. Would he still be eligible for citizenship stripping through this law?

orange on April 7, 2010 at 2:03 PM

President Obama is now claiming the right to murder you without any checks and balances. That doesn’t creep you out a bit?

orange on April 7, 2010 at 1:55 PM

What creeps me out is he is murdering an American citizen who was under surveillance for terrorism along with the Fort Hood shooter until Obama and Holder came to power and shut the investigation down.

Obama is ordering the elimination of a criminal with whom he was complicit, or at the least enabled in the murder of American Unarmed soldiers and nearly that of almost 300 civilians.

At least those who fell into harms way during the Clintoon era could have plausibly have been said to have been accidents or suicides.

This is an outright assasination by a co-conspirator. A cover-up.

Had the investigation been allowed to continue perhaps Fort Hood or the Christmas day attempt on an airliner could have been avoided!

Call me crazy if you will, but prove me wrong if your able!

dhunter on April 7, 2010 at 2:12 PM

What did Rush say I had to go back to work?

dhunter on April 7, 2010 at 1:44 PM

In an nutshell, they’re ready to kill the American without a trial but are willing to put actual arab muslim terrorists through a trial in us courts. Frankly they should kill them all, but the disparity is there.

rollthedice on April 7, 2010 at 2:57 PM

In an nutshell, they’re ready to kill the American without a trial but are willing to put actual arab muslim terrorists through a trial in us courts. Frankly they should kill them all, but the disparity is there.

rollthedice on April 7, 2010 at 2:57 PM

That’s apples and oranges. If they captured Awlaki, they’d put him on trial just as well. And if they had had KSM in the sights of a drone with no plausible way to capture him, they would have killed him. This is not in dispute.

Most of us US Citizens have assumed (largely because its the law) that we couldn’t be targeted for killing without a trial. That’s the real issue being discussed.

orange on April 7, 2010 at 3:37 PM

According to 8 CFR: TITLE 8 > CHAPTER 12 > SUBCHAPTER III > Part III > § 1481(a)(7) , he could legitimately lose his citizenship for taking up arms against the United States. Which would positively solve any messy issues.

JeffWeimer on April 7, 2010 at 10:59 AM

This sounds interesting, and it’s a method I would greatly prefer.

However, what exactly is the definition of “taking up arms” against the US? I believe Awlaki is, at worst, more of a mastermind type. He doesn’t actually pull any triggers or anything. Would he still be eligible for citizenship stripping through this law?

orange on April 7, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Just because you actually didn’t pull the trigger doesn’t make you any less culpable. He also would arguably fall under TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 115 > § 2385 referenced in that paragraph.

JeffWeimer on April 7, 2010 at 6:57 PM