Breaking: Awlaki dead? Update: American Samir Khan also killed

posted at 7:26 am on September 30, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The New York Times reports this morning that officials in both Yemen and Washington claim that American-born Al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki has reached room temperature somewhere in Yemen:

In a significant and dramatic strike in the campaign against Al Qaeda, the Defense Ministry here said American-born preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, a leading figure in the group’s outpost in Yemen, was killed on Friday morning.

In Washington a senior Obama administration official confirmed that Mr. Awlaki was dead. But the circumstances surrounding the killing remained unclear.

It was not immediately known whether Yemeni forces carried out the attack or if American intelligence forces, which have been pursuing Mr. Awlaki for months, were involved in the operation.

A Defense Ministry statement said that a number of Mr. Awlaki’s bodyguards also were killed.

A high-ranking Yemeni security official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Mr. Awlaki was killed while traveling between Marib and al-Jawf provinces in northern Yemen — areas known for having an Al Qaeda presence, where there is very little central government control. The official did not say how he was killed.

Awlaki has a long history of terrorism against the US.  At first considered a moderate cleric — the Bush administration invited him to the Pentagon as part of their outreach program after 9/11 — he became a suspect in the 9/11 attacks after at least three of the hijackers were traced to his mosque.  Awlaki fled the US and eventually masterminded the Christmas Day underwear plot in 2009 as well as a later plot to destroy cargo airplanes bound for the US, and at least inspired the Fort Hood massacre and other so-called “lone wolf” attacks.

These kind of early reports from places like Yemen have often proven wrong, although having confirmation from Washington makes it a little more reliable.  That also strongly hints that US forces were involved in the killing, which may mean hints will be all we’ll get.  As an American citizen, his status created controversy for the Obama administration when it became clear that they had tasked the military and intelligence communities with killing rather than apprehending him.  Awlaki put himself in that position by conducting a war against the US, though, and in war a belligerent has no particular duty to apprehend anyone who doesn’t surrender to their forces, regardless of their nationality.  For political reasons, don’t expect the same kind of celebration at the White House over Awlaki’s termination as was seen after Osama bin Laden’s death.

Assuming that Awlaki is really dead, though, this could be a bigger operational deal than getting bin Laden.  Awlaki’s group, AQAP, was by far the most active internationally among AQ affiliates, and his intimate knowledge of the US made him a dangerous foe.  His death won’t be the end of AQ’s attempts to create home-grown jihadis and infiltrators, but it will make that task a lot more difficult.

Update: Let’s not forget, however, that we’ve prematurely celebrated the end of this jihadi at least once before.

Update II: Rusty at MPJ notes that another American jihadi/traitor breathed his last in this attack, although at first he was rumored to have survived:

Sources in Yemen clarify why the rumor that he survived started: there were two missiles, he survived the first one …. but that second one? That one was the kill shot.

Samir Khan fled the US to Yemen and began producing the al-Qaeda recruitment “magazine” Inspire.  That makes two less Americans for AQ to consult on recruiting home-grown jihadis.  Be sure to read more at Khan at MPJ.

Update III: ABC News now reports on Khan’s demise:

A young American who edited al Qaeda’s English-language magazine, and had urged Muslims to mount deadly attacks on U.S. targets, was killed in the same CIA drone strike that eliminated Anwar Awlaki in Yemen Friday, U.S. officials said.

Khan, 25, was the Saudi-born, New York-raised editor behind “Inspire” magazine, the English language online publication of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. Khan had become a rising figure in jihadist propaganda and an “aspiring” Awlaki, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

But while Awlaki relied on sermons to recruit jihadis, Khan used sarcasm and idiomatic English in an attempt to appeal to Western youth. As Khan himself has said, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I [am] Al Qaeda to the core.” He titled a rebuke of toppled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak “A Cold Diss.” Khan’s ability to use American vernacular, like a graphic depicting graffiti that reads, “Jihad 4 Eva,” had prompted concerns that young Muslims with an interest in jihad and al Qaeda would be drawn to a voice similar to their own.

“He does appear to be increasingly involved with operational activities [of Al Qaeda]“, a U.S. official told ABC News in 2010.

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I hope they saw it, heard it and felt it.

Don’t ya just love waking up to this kind of news?

I’m more than happy to give Obama credit for this kill. Now let’s go get Adnan Shukrijuma!

Good job CIA/USAF!

Tony737 on September 30, 2011 at 10:24 AM

To use a quote from “Goodfellas”..

“Bye bye, dickhead”.

BallisticBob on September 30, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Of course the establishment at Hot Air celebrates the use of the Constitution only when it sees fit.

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Since when it it unconstitutional to kill an enemy combatant just because he has citizenship?

Blake on September 30, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Obama is good at killing brown people. Some of them aren’t even mexican civilians.

lorien1973 on September 30, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Breaking: Awlaki dead?

We didn’t break him. We burst him.

He is now a member of the Order of the Red Mist.

BobMbx on September 30, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Since when it it unconstitutional to kill an enemy combatant just because he has citizenship?

Blake on September 30, 2011 at 10:38 AM

He is a us citizen entitled to full rights and protections under the Constitution.

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 10:51 AM

He is a us citizen entitled to full rights and protections under the Constitution.

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Fool,

When you renouce your citizenship and defect to another country to commit terroist acts against Americans (US Title Code 18), be prepare for the consequences.

jp on September 30, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Good news on Samir Khan too, he fled to Yemen from Charlotte in Nov. 2009 I believe. Should be alot at MyPetJawa on this, he and Rusty go way back…

jp on September 30, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Fool,

When you renouce your citizenship and defect to another country to commit terroist acts against Americans (US Title Code 18), be prepare for the consequences.

jp on September 30, 2011 at 10:52 AM

http://washingtonindependent.com/76630/testing-the-bounds-of-u-s-citizenship

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 10:56 AM

I have to laugh when Obama boot-lickers even mention the word Constitution.

fogw on September 30, 2011 at 10:56 AM

You think during WW2 if an American joined the Wehrmacht we would not be allowed to kill him?

Blake on September 30, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Fool,

When you renouce your citizenship and defect to another country to commit terroist acts against Americans (US Title Code 18), be prepare for the consequences.

jp on September 30, 2011 at 10:52 AM

It is even outlined in your passport. You DO have a passport, don’t you, Notorious GOP?

kurtzz3 on September 30, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Since when it it unconstitutional to kill an enemy combatant just because he has citizenship?

Blake on September 30, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Do you really believe the Constitution containts an “enemy combatant” exception to due process?

Don’t misunderstand me, I have no problem exterminating this guy, but we need to recognize the War on Terror has changed things and create a system that balances the safety of the nation and the constitutional rights of American citizens.

I believe we need something more than the capricious nod of a president’s head (especially one who has openly criticized constitution) before taking out AMERICANS. I’m not suggesting this guy should have had a trial, but I would feel better about taking him out had the judicial branch also been involved in the decision. We should never be quick to shuck constitutional protections just because current office holders say there is no other way.

I’m a conservative in part because I don’t trust government.

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Spencer Ackerman? Really, dude…

Blake on September 30, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Fox News now confirming they got Samir Khan too, which I first saw on Jawa Report.

Doesn’t anyone else know about Sammy? He played a similar role to that of Adam Gahdan.

Awlaki, Khan, Gahdan are no different than Johnny Lind, who was captured while trying to kill American troops. In fact, they might be worse, because they inspired and enabled hundreds of terrorist murderers. Awlaki was in a support role in 9-11 and the deaths of thousands of civilians, and enabled the Underpants bomber who tried to kill American civilians. Lind, at least, was fighting soldiers, not trying to murder innocent civilians, men, women and children.

They are were murderous traitors and punching their tickets was long overdue.

They could have surrendered and faced trial any time. They chose to wage jihad against us instead. They got what every terrorist deserves.

novaculus on September 30, 2011 at 10:59 AM

yep:

http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/

The really personal news here would be that Samir Khan is dead. As long time readers know, Samir and I have had personal disputes over the years. It was Samir, then blogging as Inshallahshaheed, who threatened to kill my family. He even made this nice little graphic to go along with the threat.

jp on September 30, 2011 at 11:00 AM

He is a us citizen entitled to full rights and protections under the Constitution.

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 10:51 AM

There were a lot of US citizens killed in the civil war.

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:01 AM

There were a lot of US citizens killed in the civil war.

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Hence the reason Lincoln is one of the WOAT.

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Good riddance scumbag.

Kenosha Kid on September 30, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Do you really believe the Constitution containts an “enemy combatant” exception to due process?

“The Constituion is not a death pact.”

Don’t misunderstand me…

I’m a conservative in part because I don’t trust government.

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 10:58 AM

I understand you: You’re just another crazy libertariantard that hates all government.

Anyway, he’s dead! Get over it!

Blake on September 30, 2011 at 11:03 AM

There were a lot of US citizens killed in the civil war.

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Lincoln trampled all over the constitution, too.

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:05 AM

jp on September 30, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Yeah, Sammy’s home address was well-known, but no one molested him. He was pathetic, but he drew attention from online wanna-be jihadis, which made them easier to identify.

Rusty and Howie have been reminding him to keep his eyes on the skies for a while. Too late now, Sammy is gone on to his reward of 72 virgin goats.

novaculus on September 30, 2011 at 11:06 AM

All of you moaning over the deaths of these ba$tards, please conduct your wake else where.

Blake on September 30, 2011 at 11:06 AM

He is was a US citizen entitled to full rights and protections under the Constitution.

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 10:51 AM

FIFY

He was a traitor, renounced his citizenship and made war on the United States.
Doing so negates any constitutional protection and tends to be unhealthy.

Not to worry though, I understand the hellfire missiles and the drones that launched them were made in the United States and were fueled, armed and piloted by United States personnel who all swore an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic. This way it was all above board and legal.

Bubba Redneck on September 30, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Hence the reason Lincoln is one of the WOAT.

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 11:01 AM

What’s a WOAT?

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:08 AM

I thought we still had basically Wanted:Dead or Alive posters for the FBI most wanted list, no? So there’s a legal precedent for getting criminals with lethal force.

Also, he held dual citizenship, US and Yemeni. A judge in Yemen had issued a capture dead or alive order. So he basically had a price on his head in both countries.

If I were king, I’d have just had a Yemeni push the hellfire missile button to take him out. Problem solved.

Allahs vulva on September 30, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Rest in pieces.

bluesman on September 30, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Lincoln trampled all over the constitution, too.

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:05 AM

How so? Enemies foreign and domestic.

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:10 AM

kurtzz3 on September 30, 2011 at 10:58 AM

US Citizen gets an executive Order of Assassination by Obama b/c he is a “terrorist”

Terrorist on battlefield, though, gets Miranda rights.

See, our gubmint has essentially said terrorists have equal rights with US citizens.
BUT THEN THEY GO –> If Chief Executive labels you a “terrorist”, then he can order you assassinated without due process or trial (regardless of your citizenship)

AND THEN OUR VEEP calls AMerican political opponents “terrorists” –> It DOES make you wonder

BUT, Hell yes the guy deserved to die, and I hope he burns in hell.

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Worst Of All Time

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 11:11 AM

I wasnt aware that this American citizen had some form of due process whether civil or tribunal, in person or in abscentia that evidence was brought forward on, and that he was convicted against by a legal court of his peers.“All” American citizens are guaranteed this right. What court authorized his death sentence? What law grants authority to the President of the United States of America the right of life or death over every U.S. citizen at his choosing?

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Constitutional law and precedent on taking out ‘citizens’ who renounce citizenship and make war on us on the battlefield is long settled.

jp on September 30, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 11:11 AM

the Confederates launched the war moron

jp on September 30, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Bubba Redneck on September 30, 2011 at 11:06 AM

When did he formally renounce his citizenship.

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM

I understand you: You’re just another crazy libertariantard that hates all government.

Anyway, he’s dead! Get over it!

Blake on September 30, 2011 at 11:03 AM

You couldn’t be more wrong. I’m a lawyer and I believe in the rule of law. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t have taken the guy out. What I’m suggesting is that we need to setup a system that protects the nation while recognizing the constitutional rights of Americans. If we aren’t careful there will come a day when a president wants to use this power in a not so clear-cut case.

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Don’t worry, the drones were all US made!

You are just a dick who loves to rattle about and complain.
You don’t trust government but seem to have no trouble trusting the judicial branch of government?!?!
Renouncing one’s citizenship and waging war on the United States earns you the right to get a hellfire up your rectum.

Bubba Redneck on September 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM

I’m a conservative in part because I don’t trust government.

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 10:58 AM

It’s a difficult question and it has been talked about quite a bit. Yes, I don’t want to get used to the government blowing up US citizens, but as they say, the constitution is not a noose from which we all hang.

lorien1973 on September 30, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Lincoln trampled all over the constitution, too.

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:05 AM
How so? Enemies foreign and domestic.

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:10 AM

For starters he closed down newspapers opposed to his war-time policies and imprisoned what many historians now call political prisoners. He suspended the right of trial and the right to be confronted by accusers.

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:16 AM

jp on September 30, 2011 at 11:13 AM

You must’ve forgotten about the whole habeas corpus stuff.

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 11:17 AM

So we killed two enemy combatants who happened to be American. What sort of warfare did these fellows practice? Samir Shah, as far as I’ve read, never fired an AK or made a bomb.

His act of war was to create an web site.

Al-Awlaki’s warlike action was to post comments on a web site.

What battlefield were they found on? Their homes in Yemen?

I totally agree that they’re traitors. But doesn’t the U.S. have a policy to deal with treason? Where in that policy does it say “Death from Above” is the process for determining guilt and passing sentence on a traitor?

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 11:23 AM

So the little homegrown douche outta Massachusetts, is he going to be charged as a traitor? When we do charge these people, do we charge them w/that? It would seem appropriate, doncha think?

JAM on September 30, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Don’t worry, the drones were all US made!

You are just a dick who loves to rattle about and complain.
You don’t trust government but seem to have no trouble trusting the judicial branch of government?!?!
Renouncing one’s citizenship and waging war on the United States earns you the right to get a hellfire up your rectum.

Bubba Redneck on September 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Does using filthy name calling somehow legitmize you argument that a president of the USA can pronounce death sentence on U.S. citizen without due process? What law supports you argument sir?
How about engaing in intelligent debate?

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 11:24 AM

You are just a dick who loves to rattle about and complain.
You don’t trust government but seem to have no trouble trusting the judicial branch of government?!?!
Renouncing one’s citizenship and waging war on the United States earns you the right to get a hellfire up your rectum.

Bubba Redneck on September 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM

You are a real class act. I’m a dick for suggesting that we do everything possible to protect the constitutional rights of citizens before sending them to hell?

Did you even read what I wrote? I am glad the guy is gone and I’m not complaining about it. I just believe it wise to stop and think when you are standing atop a slippery slope. I don’t have any particular trust of the judiciary branch, but had a judge signed off on this I would feel better about it. At least that way two of the three branches would have been involved. Call me crazy, I still believe checks and balances.

The actions of the executive branch the past two years would have been unthinkable even ten years ago. We are losing our country and our rights at breakneck speed. If I’m a dick for suggesting we stop and think about it a minute, so be it.

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:25 AM

This is a list of people convicted (and some executed) for treason in the US:

Philip Vigol and John Mitchell, convicted of treason and sentenced to hanging; pardoned by George Washington; see Whiskey Rebellion.
Governor Thomas Dorr 1844, convicted of treason against the state of Rhode Island; see Dorr Rebellion; released in 1845; civil rights restored in 1851; verdict annulled in 1854.
John Brown, convicted of treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1859 and executed for attempting to organize armed resistance to slavery.
Aaron Dwight Stevens, took part in John Brown’s raid and was executed in 1860 for treason against Virginia.
William Bruce Mumford, convicted of treason and hanged in 1862 for tearing down a United States flag during the American Civil War.
Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt, all hanged on July 7, 1865 for treason and conspiracy for the Lincoln assassination and conspiracy – by military tribunal.
Iva Toguri D’Aquino, who is frequently identified with “Tokyo Rose” convicted 1949. Subsequently pardoned by President Gerald Ford.
Herbert Hans Haupt, German-born naturalized U.S. citizen, was convicted of treason in 1942 and executed after being named as a German spy by fellow German spies defecting to the United States.
Martin James Monti, United States Army Air Force pilot, convicted of treason for defecting to the Waffen SS in 1944.
Robert Henry Best, convicted of treason on April 16, 1948 and served a life sentence.
Mildred Gillars, also known as “Axis Sally”, convicted of treason on March 8, 1949; served 12 years of a 10- to 30-year prison sentence.
Tomoya Kawakita, sentenced to death for treason in 1952, but eventually released by President John F. Kennedy to be deported to Japan.

I would also add Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed for conspiracy to commit espionage.

It’s not like being a US citizen is any special protection when you have committed treason.

RebeccaH on September 30, 2011 at 11:25 AM

I totally agree that they’re traitors. But doesn’t the U.S. have a policy to deal with treason? Where in that policy does it say “Death from Above” is the process for determining guilt and passing sentence on a traitor?

I dont care how they were killed. I want to know who pronounced sentence on these U.S. citizens, and by what law did and right of due process?

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 11:26 AM

I don’t like Obama at all, but I have to admit I think he’s standing tall on the issue of counter-terrorism.

kwbrownie2003 on September 30, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Samir Khan fled the US to Yemen and began producing the al-Qaeda recruitment “magazine” Inspire.

Awww, and the cat fight with Amadinnerjacket was just getting interesting!

Dusty on September 30, 2011 at 11:28 AM

8 U.S.C. 1481 states:

“A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them…”

If his citizenship was revoked (which, per this law, it could have been), the US Constitution no longer applies.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 11:28 AM

It’s not like being a US citizen is any special protection when you have committed treason.

RebeccaH on September 30, 2011 at 11:25 AM

These folks were apparently charged with treason and found guilty, and sentenced by a court.

When did that happen with Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan?

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 11:29 AM

It’s not like being a US citizen is any special protection when you have committed treason.

RebeccaH

So Rebecca it looks like the US used to take treason a lot more seriously a long time ago. Now we won’t charge anybody, even those caught red-handed actively plotting against us!

JAM on September 30, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Hawsruleva:

Huge strawman that ALL he did was post on some blogs, yada, yada.

He brought Al Queda to Yemen and directly recruited fighters, two of which tried to take the plane to Detroit Christmas 2009 down last year and the other tried to bomb Chicago in 2010.

Yikes. Pay attention.

Allahs vulva on September 30, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Renouncing one’s citizenship and waging war on the United States earns you the right to get a hellfire up your rectum.

Bubba Redneck on September 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM

How about asking a duly sworn judge to review the evidence that someone has renounced their citizenship and waged war on America before adding them to the vaporization list? Do you always believe everything your Uncle Obama tells you?

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 11:29 AM

I don’t like Obama at all, but I have to admit I think he’s standing tall on the issue of counter-terrorism.

kwbrownie2003

I’m holding my breath waiting for him to give credit to Bush for putting in place the superb infrastructure to carry out all of his assassinations.

JAM on September 30, 2011 at 11:31 AM

If his citizenship was revoked (which, per this law, it could have been), the US Constitution no longer applies.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 11:28 AM

That makes sense to me. When was their citizenship revoked?

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 11:32 AM

So Rebecca it looks like the US used to take treason a lot more seriously a long time ago. Now we won’t charge anybody, even those caught red-handed actively plotting against us!

JAM on September 30, 2011 at 11:29 AM

We even tried Nazis.

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 11:34 AM

That makes sense to me. When was their citizenship revoked?

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 11:32 AM

Just like the FISA courts having the ability to sign warrants and issue declarations without making them available to the public, I would imagine this decision was made behind closed doors.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 11:34 AM

A bill was presented to stip him of his citizenship on the floor of the House. Perhaps it was carried and signed out of public view.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Awww, and the cat fight with Amadinnerjacket was just getting interesting!

Dusty on September 30, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Yeah, and who’s going to call out the 9/11 troofers for their lies?

Ward Cleaver on September 30, 2011 at 11:36 AM

You couldn’t be more wrong.

No, I’m 100% right!

I’m a lawyer and I believe in the rule of law.

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Yawn.

There’s a party going on right here
a celebration to last throughout the years.
So bring the good times and the laughter too
we’re gonna celebrate the party withOUT you !

Blake on September 30, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Currently, federal law provides that a U.S. national “shall lose his nationality by voluntarily entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States.”

The Terrorist Expatriation Act (HR 5237) – the House version of a Senate bill authored by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn. – would revoke the U.S.citizenship of any national who has provided material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. Additionally, the Revoking Citizenship for Terrorists Act (HR 5166) would revoke citizenship of those individuals who are identified as terrorists.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Currently, federal law provides that a U.S. national “shall lose his nationality by voluntarily entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States.”

The Terrorist Expatriation Act (HR 5237) – the House version of a Senate bill authored by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn. – would revoke the U.S.citizenship of any national who has provided material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. Additionally, the Revoking Citizenship for Terrorists Act (HR 5166) would revoke citizenship of those individuals who are identified as terrorists.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 11:37 AM

I agree with the law. Where’s the judicial finding that the conditions were met? We’ve had years to make such a finding.

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:39 AM

He brought Al Queda to Yemen and directly recruited fighters, two of which tried to take the plane to Detroit Christmas 2009 down last year and the other tried to bomb Chicago in 2010.

Yikes. Pay attention.

Allahs vulva on September 30, 2011 at 11:29 AM

I’m not sure Al-Awlaki brought Al Qaeda to Yemen. Wasn’t Nasser al-Wahishi the head of that grouip? But I agree that both of the Americans killed today were major recruiters.

I just think their should have been a judicial review of the status of these two men. Maybe there was, and the details will come out in time.

If Samir Khan had been in the U.S. when he was killed, would that have still been ok? I’m trying to figure out where the line is here.

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 11:39 AM

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Yawn.

There’s a party going on right here
a celebration to last throughout the years.
So bring the good times and the laughter too
we’re gonna celebrate the party withOUT you !

Blake on September 30, 2011 at 11:37 AM

You are a child

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:40 AM

He was a pirate.

He was overseas and waging war against the US.

That is not legal under any US Code and he had reverted to man in the state of nature, a savage red of tooth and claw who has taken back all of his negative natural liberties and rights unto himself.

If he wanted a civil trial he could have given himself up.

He preferred a trial by war.

He got what he wanted by the fortunes of war.

It sucks to be a savage terrorizing your fellow man.

ajacksonian on September 30, 2011 at 11:41 AM

I dont care how they were killed. I want to know who pronounced sentence on these U.S. citizens, and by what law did and right of due process?

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 11:26 AM

8 U.S.C. 1481 states:

“A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them…”

If his citizenship was revoked (which, per this law, it could have been), the US Constitution no longer applies.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Somethings are obvious. Does leave one less case for the lawyers though.

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:41 AM

ARGH!~!!!! He’s speechifying Uh-gain.
Ssssss

Key West Reader on September 30, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Just like the FISA courts having the ability to sign warrants and issue declarations without making them available to the public, I would imagine this decision was made behind closed doors.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 11:34 AM

If that did happen, then I’d feel like our actions were a lot more reasonable. But how will you feel if it turns out that the issue of their US Citizenship wasn’t addressed?

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 11:42 AM

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:39 AM

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Hawks – Now that the legal grounding for this has been submitted, you’re asking me to address a hypothetical. Did the Bush Administration waterboard without a lawyer telling them it was defensible? The Obama Administration had a legal finding (based explicitly in US code) for this strike.

Flyfisher – Do you accept that assets and methods for certain things should remain classified? For example: should the names and locations of our SpecOps teams be public knowledge even with a FOIA request? If this case follows precedent (and I assume it does FISA-type rulings have been issued out of the view of the public.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 11:47 AM

If that did happen, then I’d feel like our actions were a lot more reasonable. But how will you feel if it turns out that the issue of their US Citizenship wasn’t addressed?

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 11:42 AM

It’s a stupid argument that lawyers like to make so they can charge a fee. If anything happens to upset the lawyer applecart they turn out in force to defend their occupation.

Everything about this action is obvious, just and legal and everyone knows it.

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:49 AM

I love this standard the (I assume) Paul supporters in this thread are saying. “I don’t care that the man is openly writing and calling for war against America, in the service of an organization that has declared war against the United States, it is wrong to terminate him without arresting and hauling him in so some Judge can declare the exact same thing the alleged criminal is declaring: that he is an enemy of the United States.”

Look, treason is established on the word of at least two witnesses, or upon confession. This guy was confessing to his treason all the time.

Your standard (that of unless you haul them into court, the government cannot kill a “citizen” that is fighting against the country) would make, perversly, the most successful enemies of the United States her very own citizens. Because we don’t prosecute treason anymore, it would pretty much grant immunity to anyone who could be nationalized.

I.E. you guys care more about the crooks than the victims.

Vanceone on September 30, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Simple question: If Bush had done this, where would the liberals, the liberal media, and the ACLU stand on this unprecedented policy?

UPDATE: When Obama was seeking the Democratic nomination, the Constitutional Law Scholar answered a questionnaire about executive power distributed by The Boston Globe’s Charlie Savage, and this was one of his answers:

5. Does the Constitution permit a president to detain US citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants?

[Obama]: No. I reject the Bush Administration’s claim that the President has plenary authority under the Constitution to detain U.S. citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants.

So back then, Obama said the President lacks the power merely to detain U.S. citizens without charges. Now, as President, he claims the power to assassinate them without charges. Could even his hardest-core loyalists try to reconcile that with a straight face?

link

Funny how times and the rhetoric has changed.

Rovin on September 30, 2011 at 11:51 AM

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM

I understand your concerns completely.

I agree it would be wise to have a specific procedure that requires judicial review and such due process as is practicable in the circumstances to make the list, with the exception that the Commander in Chief may act immediately where the threat is imminent. Avowed membership in a terrorist organization engaged in illegal warfare against the US should be an immediate qualifier.

But there is absolutely no question that Anwar and Sammy deserved to be on this list, and I for one am very glad they can threaten us no longer.

And you guys taking pot-shots at flyfisher need to lighten up. Disagree with him if you will, but his conservative credentials aren’t in question with anyone who has read his posts. He is one of the good guys.

novaculus on September 30, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Everything about this action is obvious, just and legal and everyone knows it.

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Clearly not everyone knows it.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 11:52 AM

One US President got the situation exactly right and ordered his troops on the following:

Art. 82.

Men, or squads of men, who commit hostilities, whether by fighting, or inroads for destruction or plunder, or by raids of any kind, without commission, without being part and portion of the organized hostile army, and without sharing continuously in the war, but who do so with intermitting returns to their homes and avocations, or with the occasional assumption of the semblance of peaceful pursuits, divesting themselves of the character or appearance of soldiers – such men, or squads of men, are not public enemies, and, therefore, if captured, are not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war, but shall be treated summarily as highway robbers or pirates.

General Orders 100 prepared 24 April 1863 by Francis Lieber for Abraham Lincoln.

Notice that such men are NOT public enemies due the recourse of the civil law.

They go to war on their own.

That is where they want to be.

And they get what they deserve.

ajacksonian on September 30, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:08 AM
Worst Of All Time

Notorious GOP on September 30, 2011 at 11:11 AM

President Obama, WOAT… Jimmy Carter is smiling, somewhere since he is now SWOAT…

Khun Joe on September 30, 2011 at 11:54 AM

This is cold-blooded murder, based on things he SAID, no evidence linking him to any action. If you are guilty and deserving to die for motivating attacks on America, then by the CIA’s, Wolfowitz’s, the 9/11 Commission’s standards, the American Government is guilty of that sin as well. We’ve admitted our foreign policy blunders have motivated attacks. That’s why we took our base off of Saudi land, because it was, as Wolfowitz said, inspiring attacks on America.

So then, shouldn’t we assassinate government officials whose actions motivated terrorist activity?

iamse7en on September 30, 2011 at 11:56 AM

And you guys taking pot-shots at flyfisher need to lighten up. Disagree with him if you will, but his conservative credentials aren’t in question with anyone who has read his posts. He is one of the good guys.

novaculus on September 30, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Not taking potshots at flyfisher but at his argument. Flyfisher, you’re thinking like a lawyer and not being open minded as to the circumstances. Not everything should be nuanced and some things are open and shut in war.

I love to flyfish by the way.

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Flyfisher – Do you accept that assets and methods for certain things should remain classified? For example: should the names and locations of our SpecOps teams be public knowledge even with a FOIA request? If this case follows precedent (and I assume it does FISA-type rulings have been issued out of the view of the public.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Absolutely! But if there is a classified system that ensures due process, the existence of the system itself need not be classified does it? We have known of FISA for decades (late 70′s IIRC).

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Clearly not everyone knows it.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Yeah, they know it but refuse to admit that they spoke before thinking. Now they’re trying to justify their thought process or lack of same.

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Simple question: If Bush had done this, where would the liberals, the liberal media, and the ACLU stand on this unprecedented policy?

Actually this did happen under GWB also. There was a Predator strike in 2002 in Yemen, that killed a US citizen.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/nov2002/yem-n12.shtml

firepilot on September 30, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Absolutely! But if there is a classified system that ensures due process, the existence of the system itself need not be classified does it? We have known of FISA for decades (late 70′s IIRC).

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 11:58 AM

That’s kind of what I’m saying. There has been a law on the books that says anyone engaged in open hostilities against the US SHALL lose their citizenship. It doesn’t say a finding is required, or even a judicial hearing. It’s an if/than.

He did, through force of arms, attempt to make war against the US, therefore, he did lose his citizenship. No additional actions or documentation is required per the law.

Good kill.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Was Joe Lieberman’s Terrorist Expatriation act passed and signed into law?

It seems like at least one U.S. Senator wanted to make sure we had a process in place for dealing with US Citizens who join the terrorists.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Awlaki and Khan are dead. But I’d like to know our country is still mindful of things like rights. Those men were traitors, and should be dealt with as traitors.

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 12:01 PM

iamse7en on September 30, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Homicide, not murder.

There is a big difference. You may disagree with the law as it stands, but these killings were lawful homicides under current law.

If you don’t like the law as it stands, write your congressman. You can call it murder if you wish, but legally your are wrong to do so.

novaculus on September 30, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Vince, I meant only those making personal attacks, which are undeserved.

novaculus on September 30, 2011 at 12:03 PM

These arguments are very interesting and why I come here everyday to read and learn.
Put me in the glad they are dead group.
However, after reading both sides, the most surprising thing is that O ordered the hit, or allowed the hit.

ORconservative on September 30, 2011 at 12:06 PM

That’s kind of what I’m saying. There has been a law on the books that says anyone engaged in open hostilities against the US SHALL lose their citizenship. It doesn’t say a finding is required, or even a judicial hearing. It’s an if/than.

He did, through force of arms, attempt to make war against the US, therefore, he did lose his citizenship. No additional actions or documentation is required per the law.

Good kill.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Maybe you are right about existing law. I would feel better about it if we had a FISA-type system for these cases, but with an exigent circumstances exception for those emergencies when time is an issue.

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 12:06 PM

I don’t like Obama at all, but I have to admit I think he’s standing tall on the issue of counter-terrorism.

kwbrownie2003

If by standing tall you mean not impeding I’d agree. Mr. Obama is doing a victory lap on TV now.

Mason on September 30, 2011 at 12:08 PM

As Khan himself has said, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I [am] Al Qaeda to the core.” He titled a rebuke of toppled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak “A Cold Diss.” Khan’s ability to use American vernacular, like a graphic depicting graffiti that reads, “Jihad 4 Eva,” had prompted concerns that young Muslims with an interest in jihad and al Qaeda would be drawn to a voice similar to their own.

This is your poor misguided American citizen who was “murdererd.” His recruits were in US prisons or those that fought against “the man” on US streets.

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 12:08 PM

I would feel better about it if we had a FISA-type system for these cases, but with an exigent circumstances exception for those emergencies when time is an issue.

flyfisher on September 30, 2011 at 12:06 PM

There are a lot of things that would make me feel better. In this specific case though, the letter of the law was followed. It doesn’t come down to how you or I or anyone feels. It comes down to legality. On that front, this was a good kill.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:09 PM

Just read through the comments. I understand the concerns some have about the US government taking out a US born terrorist (I don’t consider him a real American, in the true sense of the word), but I fall on the side of Ye haw! The bastard is dead!

Kim Priestap on September 30, 2011 at 12:12 PM

That’s kind of what I’m saying. There has been a law on the books that says anyone engaged in open hostilities against the US SHALL lose their citizenship. It doesn’t say a finding is required, or even a judicial hearing. It’s an if/than.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:01 PM

That’s sort of what I’m wondering about. Is it enough for the government to just say you’re an enemy, without presenting any evidence? If Obama says you’re a terrorist, that’s good enough for the folks controlling the drones, and good enough for the general public?

Al-Awlaki was clearly a traitor. It would’ve been easy to have a hearing and declare that was the case. I just worry about the precedent.

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Samir Khan fled the US to Yemen and began producing the al-Qaeda recruitment “magazine” Inspire.

Soon to be re-named: ‘Expire’

dont taze me bro on September 30, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Soon to be re-named: ‘Expire’

dont taze me bro on September 30, 2011 at 12:14 PM

One of the Fox commentators mentioned that it gives a whole new level of meaning to the term deadline.

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 12:16 PM

You don’t get a trial when you resist arrest to such an extent that you cannot safely be brought on alive.

Count to 10 on September 30, 2011 at 12:17 PM

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 12:13 PM

In a huge, broad-brush sense, I see what you’re saying.

There is, however, a MASSIVE distinction between a domestical political dissident and a terrorist ex-pat waging active war against the US.

As to evidence, there are mountains of video and audio tapes, emails and papers all presented by al-Awlaki testifying to his treason.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:18 PM

That’s sort of what I’m wondering about. Is it enough for the government to just say you’re an enemy, without presenting any evidence? If Obama says you’re a terrorist, that’s good enough for the folks controlling the drones, and good enough for the general public?

Al-Awlaki was clearly a traitor. It would’ve been easy to have a hearing and declare that was the case. I just worry about the precedent.

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Apparently Obama believes a prisoner at Gitmo has more rights than an American citizen.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 12:20 PM

You don’t get a trial when you resist arrest to such an extent that you cannot safely be brought on alive.

Count to 10 on September 30, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Janet Reno agrees

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 12:22 PM

As to evidence, there are mountains of video and audio tapes, emails and papers all presented by al-Awlaki testifying to his treason.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Right. al-Alawki could’ve been the poster boy on how to deal with traitors. And maybe he was.

I think part of my reticence goes back to a belief that Obama isn’t killing terrorists because he’s tough on terror, but because he’s lazy. He’d rather pop a Hellfire on someone than deal with any legal issues, because it makes him look like a hypocrite. To me, that’s a really scary thought process when applied to domestic policy.

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 12:25 PM

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