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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Well even if you agree with Obama on this (that it’s ok to drop a bunker buster on Al Lawki’s car), the point to argue with him and liberals is that his terror policy is utterly schizophrenic.

On one hand, Eric nutHolder tries to bring foreign fighters held on foreign soil to NYC to try terror “suspects” (caught in the act) in US Civilian courts with full constitutional protections.
On the other hand, you have Obama launching drone strikes on US Citizens marked for a55a55ination.

It makes no sense.

Youngs98 on September 30, 2011 at 12:25 PM

So….Can we finally print this headline now?:

BREAKING: ANWAR…FINALLY DRILLED!!

Bwahahahaaa!!!! Bye bye scum-sucking maggots!!

Talismen on September 30, 2011 at 12:25 PM

In order to have your rights protected, you must surrender to the authorities when called apon to do so. If you choose not to, then your rights are forfeit, and the authorities are empowered to use what ever means are appropriate to protect others from you.

Count to 10 on September 30, 2011 at 12:26 PM

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

I agree entirely. The Predators, Global Hawks and Reapers are doing more because arresting them puts Obama in a position he himself has defined as illegal. It’s easier to kill them.

It requires a very serious leap to apply that to domestic policy, and the evidence contradicts you. Obama was even willing to give KSM a public trial, remember?

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:27 PM

A young American who edited al Qaeda’s English-language magazine, and had urged Muslims to mount deadly attacks on U.S. targets,

Killing website pundits now?

Could AllahPundit be next?

faraway on September 30, 2011 at 12:27 PM

While the demise of these two is supremely satisfying and I consider these “good kills,” I have to admit to certain qualms. I wonder how many American citizens the CIA has targeted for assassination in its 60+ year history.

SukieTawdry on September 30, 2011 at 12:29 PM

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

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Funny how we haven’t captured many terrorists since Obama took office, isn’t it? I wonder what we would’ve learned if some of those dead terrorists had been given an opportunity to talk.

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Youngs98 on September 30, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Well, trying captured foreign combatants is US courts was a dumb idea, but this citizen would have had all his rights protected had he turned himself in. Choosing not to do so was the functional equivalent of choosing death by cop. Or drone pilot, as the case may be.

Count to 10 on September 30, 2011 at 12:31 PM

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]

Fixating on treason obscures the and sidetracks the main issue here and superfluously drags in issues that have little bearing on whether the US can or can’t target al-Awlaki with a drone strike. I don’t mean to pick on you, RebeccaH; I’m just using your comment as a jumping in point.

Treason is a supplementary crime alleged and a secondary issue, to the main issue, which is that al-Awlaki — a member of al-Qeada and a top leader of that group — is, now was, engaged in waging war on the US. Therefore he’s target-able by our military (of which our President is CinC) who has been authorized by Congress to kill, if necessary.

That’s it. It’s all that is needed.

With that in mind, and to make my point clearer, your comment that I excerpt above would read,

“It’s not like committing treason is any special protection for a US citizen when you are waging war against the US.

I do appreciate your comment as this didn’t occur to me until I read it.

Dusty on September 30, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Update: This just in the editors of the popular conservative blog Hot Air.com have been killed in a drone strike conducted by U.S. Intelligence. Just last week, in an off handed remark, the Vice President of the United States referred to editors of the popular conservative polical blog as “terrorists”.
CIA chief David Petraeus commented “After the Vice president identifed these individuals as terrorists, we added them to our kill or capture list. An oppurtunity presented itself for us to utilize our assets in the region to take a major shot at decapitating this offshoot of radical extermism.”

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 12:31 PM

In order to have your rights protected, you must surrender to the authorities when called apon to do so. If you choose not to, then your rights are forfeit, and the authorities are empowered to use what ever means are appropriate to protect others from you.

Count to 10 on September 30, 2011 at 12:26 PM

I agree. Can you link his indictment?

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 12:33 PM

(Update) there were two missiles, he survived the first one …. but that second one? That one was the kill shot.

Just when I think the news couldn’t be any better, then THIS!

This is like double whamie!

Sir Napsalot on September 30, 2011 at 12:33 PM

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Right. Drone strikes in the United States against a member of the opposition party who seeks your electoral defeat is exactly the same as targeting an active terrorist who has taken military action against the United States from a foreign country.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:34 PM

I don’t know, I’m with Ron Paul on this one.

scalleywag on September 30, 2011 at 12:35 PM

I agree. Can you link his indictment?
Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 12:33 PM

I’m sure that would have been nice, indictments aren’t really necessary.

Count to 10 on September 30, 2011 at 12:37 PM

I hope the press will ask about the legality of the killings, at least.

faraway on September 30, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Killing website pundits now?

Could AllahPundit be next?

faraway on September 30, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Cool! Let’s form a HUMAN SHIELD – for Allahpundit!

Blake on September 30, 2011 at 12:41 PM

I agree. Can you link his indictment?

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 12:33 PM

War is a criminal matter?

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Like so many of these terrorists, he was a SUSPECTED coward who encouraged others to wage a jihad against Americans in whatever manner achievable. I don’t mourn him, I just wish we could have tracked him down and gotten some intelligence from him and treated him like the others we have in custody. If we knew his location, why couldn’t we have done that? That may be a stupid question but I don’t know the answer to it.

scalleywag on September 30, 2011 at 12:43 PM

It requires a very serious leap to apply that to domestic policy, and the evidence contradicts you. Obama was even willing to give KSM a public trial, remember?

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:27 PM

But he didn’t, because public pressure stopped him. He wanted the trial in order to please his base. He dropped the trial to please swing voters. The administration is currently taking both sides fo that position, saying from time to time that they still want to try KSM in public courts, and saying they have no plans to do so.

I’m not asking that American-born terrorists be tried in abstentia. But I’d like to hear there was a finding by a court, or at least some thought put into the case.

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Two American traitors dead.

It’s a good day.

disa on September 30, 2011 at 12:43 PM

I do believe that if I had encountered either one of these two traitors, I would be justified in killing them. Self defense.

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 12:47 PM

(Update) there were two missiles, he survived the first one …. but that second one? That one was the kill shot.

Just when I think the news couldn’t be any better, then THIS!

This is like double whamie!

Sir Napsalot on September 30, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Rule number 2….double tap!!!

runawayyyy on September 30, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Right. Drone strikes in the United States against a member of the opposition party who seeks your electoral defeat is exactly the same as targeting an active terrorist who has taken military action against the United States from a foreign country.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:34 PM

It is when you arbitrarily give that authority over to your government without any right of due process to protect its citizens.

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 12:48 PM

I’m not asking that American-born terrorists be tried in abstentia. But I’d like to hear there was a finding by a court, or at least some thought put into the case.

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 12:43 PM

What kind of thought are you looking for? We have two Administrations, two Attorney Generals, two CIA heads all saying these two were legitimate targets and a legal structure which explains the reasoning their targeting is legal.

What would you like in addition to that?

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:49 PM

U.S. officials have given Anwar al-Aulaqi a newly elevated designation on the day of his death by drone strike, describing him as “chief of external operations” for al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen.

The new title, cited by officials at the White House and the CIA, reflects Aulaqi’s evolution from Muslim cleric to alleged terrorist plotter, as well as a desire by American officials to persuade the public that the extraordinary killing of a U.S. citizen overseas was warranted.

Wow, the old food stamps program is now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP.

The Obama administration is way better than Machiavelli, Pinocchio and Goebbels, combined. Pravda could never, ever match this surreal world.

Media and people of the U.S., wake up. YOU are all taken for the last drop of decency you still possess.

Schadenfreude on September 30, 2011 at 12:50 PM

What kind of thought are you looking for? We have two Administrations, two Attorney Generals, two CIA heads all saying these two were legitimate targets and a legal structure which explains the reasoning their targeting is legal.

What would you like in addition to that?

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Thats right! Sentence was conferred by government officials after they carefully weighed information against these indivduals. Who needs a jury of peers to confer sentence when you have government to decide for you!

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 12:51 PM

“Inspire magazine will now be known as ‘Expire’. And my lovely 72 virgins turned out to be billy goats. Can I have a do-over?” Samir Khan

starboardhelm on September 30, 2011 at 12:52 PM

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Absolutely nothing about this was ‘arbitrary.’ There is a law on the books, and two seperate governments have looked at the data and reached – based on existing law – the same conclusion.

They didn’t pull Awlaki’s name out of a hat.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:52 PM

I agree. Can you link his indictment?

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 12:33 PM
War is a criminal matter?

Vince on September 30, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Of course not. Read the comment I was responding to. He said, “In order to have your rights protected, you must surrender to the authorities when called apon to do so.”

I’m merely asking for verification he was ordered to surrender.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Funny how we haven’t captured many terrorists since Obama took office, isn’t it? I wonder what we would’ve learned if some of those dead terrorists had been given an opportunity to talk.

[hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 12:29 PM]

You have a point there. I wonder if some of it has to do with the better intelligence methods and such which we’ve developed over time.

I’d venture that terrorists might ratchet back up the chances of capture over death if they didn’t put all their thoughts and plans on computer discs, though.

Dusty on September 30, 2011 at 12:53 PM

“Inspire magazine will now be known as ‘Expire’. And my lovely 72 virgins turned out to be billy goats. Can I have a do-over?” Samir Khan

starboardhelm on September 30, 2011 at 12:52 PM

I hope the CIA takes over the website now. Keep it up, then require registration… and pictures. Give away free (GPS) football phones with each registration.

faraway on September 30, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Thats right! Sentence was conferred by government officials after they carefully weighed information against these indivduals. Who needs a jury of peers to confer sentence when you have government to decide for you!
paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Again, trials, juries, and sentences are for if you turn yourself in. Run, and all bets are off.

Count to 10 on September 30, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Like I care what anyone else thinks about putting down a rabid dog.

Christien on September 30, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Absolutely nothing about this was ‘arbitrary.’ There is a law on the books, and two seperate governments have looked at the data and reached – based on existing law – the same conclusion.

They didn’t pull Awlaki’s name out of a hat.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:52 PM

What law? What court was he found guilty in? What jury promounced sentence? Oh yeah, they just did it today when they gave him the brand new designation “chief of external operations”. I just didnt realize that by default when you get that title conferred on you, you lose all right to due process.

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Maybe he committed suicide. //sarc

TBenton on September 30, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Again, trials, juries, and sentences are for if you turn yourself in. Run, and all bets are off.

Count to 10 on September 30, 2011 at 12:55 PM

It doesn’t matter how many times you say it.

I wonder what paulsur’s position on the bin Laden raid is?

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I’m merely asking for verification he was ordered to surrender.
Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Putting someone on a wanted list is a call to surrender. Of course, the guy was working for a declared enemy of the US, so the call can be assumed.

Count to 10 on September 30, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I’m sure that MSNBC anchors will be asking the International Criminal Court to investigate the War Criminal Obama.

faraway on September 30, 2011 at 1:00 PM

I wonder what paulsur’s position on the bin Laden raid is?
Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:57 PM

A part of me still hopes we faked his death, and he is really living in a secret CIA interogation center.

Count to 10 on September 30, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Hrm… Rich Lowery just brought up the case of Nazi saboteurs caught on U.S. soil. One of them was an American. They were all treated exactly the same way – tried by a military tribunal. And I’d have been ok if they had all been killed in a gunfight. So why is al-Awlaki’s case different?

Maybe it isn’t. He’s definitely a threat to American citizens. He’s not firing a weapon but he’s directing the people with the bombs. And he and Khan were both recruiting more people who would definitely be trying to kill us. And they had both even publicly stated their intention to kill Americans and harm U.S. interests.

This war is different than past wars, and the lines are a lot blurrier. But killing al-Awlaki is as justifiable as killing any other high-ranking enemy officer.

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 1:05 PM

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Do you distinguish between a ‘gunfight’ and an ‘airstrike against a legitimate military target’?

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Of course, the guy was working for a declared enemy of the US, so the call can be assumed.

Count to 10 on September 30, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I agree the guy should have been taken out. I’m glad he’s dead.

Here’s is where we differ: I want the executive branch to prove that he was working for a declared enemy before killing him. The constitution demands it.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 1:08 PM

I want the executive branch to prove that he was working for a declared enemy before killing him. The constitution demands it.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Could they just play the tapes Awlaki himself put out? Would browsing his YouTube account satisfy you?

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 1:10 PM

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

Why should a US judge sign off on a strike conducted by the United States military on a target that has renounced his US citizenship and actively supports armed struggle against the government of the Unites States?

Bubba Redneck on September 30, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Here’s is where we differ: I want the executive branch to prove that he was working for a declared enemy before killing him. The constitution demands it.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 1:08 PM

That’s easy. Watch his posted videos and read his posted writings.

Bubba Redneck on September 30, 2011 at 1:13 PM

It is when you arbitrarily give that authority over to your government without any right of due process to protect its citizens.

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 12:48 PM

We have given the federal government the authority to declare and exclusiely the executive branch to prosecute wars via the US Constitution. Since that is sovereign law there is nothing arbitrary in our 200+ year history about it. It is explicit as it could possibly be.

anuts on September 30, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Word. These fools could’ve followed him on jawareport and many other sites for years.

But then they couldn’t kvetch now without pretending not to know the truth.

Christien on September 30, 2011 at 1:15 PM

I agree the guy should have been taken out. I’m glad he’s dead.

Here’s is where we differ: I want the executive branch to prove that he was working for a declared enemy before killing him. The constitution demands it.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 1:08 PM

What’s to prove? The guy is well known, and on his own recognizance, that he is an enemy to the US. Confessions are still evidence, and both of these guys boasted about how they were directing warfare against the US.

What more proof do you want? It’s not like these guys were trying to claim innocence. You seem to be thinking of a situation where the government is trying to kill a guy who might be innocent, or there is some question. Well, I’d agree there. But these guys weren’t innocent, no one believes it, and more importantly, they themselves don’t claim it! If you had hauled them into court, they couldn’t have claimed innocence, and the case to prove them guilty is, as stated above, a 5 minute endeavor.

So why bother? Formalities for the sake of formalities, especially if it involves killing your own troops, is stupid.

Vanceone on September 30, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Obama doesn’t want to capture terrorists because it is politically inconvenient. He isn’t concerned in the least about the intelligence that might be gathered.

Where will he put them? Guantanamo?

Unconscionable!

Pour water on their heads until they talk?

Inconceivably evil!!

Blow them to smithereens without warning?

Smart power!!!

I have no problem with killing terrorists, but if there is a chance to capture them and gather intel, it should be taken. I have no illusions about why Obama won’t do that and just kills them instead. It is all about with what is best for Obama. It has nothing to do with what is best for America.

novaculus on September 30, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Do you distinguish between a ‘gunfight’ and an ‘airstrike against a legitimate military target’?

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 1:07 PM

I was, but there’s no reason to do so. If one case is ok, then they’re both ok. My immediate reaction was, yay, a major terrorist is dead. But also, a US citizen was just killed without any due process. In reality, though, he was fighting in a war, just not on the front lines. If I have no qualms about killing a frontline enemy soldier who happens to be American, then I can’t argue in favor of protecting an enemy officer who appens to be an American.

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 1:17 PM

I know this may not make me very popular, but Awlaki was a US citizen, and he should not have been handled this way. Ron Paul is right. No government can be trusted with this kind of discretion over its people.

If we could locate bin Laden and raid his hideout, we could have tried to capture Awlaki and process him in the justice system. If he got himself killed in the raid, by fighting back, so be it. A lot of criminals do. But every US citizen should get due process. Obama can’t be trusted with this kind of executive discretion, period. There will be more presidents who can’t.

J.E. Dyer on September 30, 2011 at 1:22 PM

hawksruleva on September 30, 2011 at 1:17 PM

There was due process, just not as we’re used to seeing. Treason isn’t something that comes up too often. The law, however, is crystal clear. Once you undertake military action, your citizenship is forfeit. That IS due process. The law was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President.

You are correct though, in saying that killing enemy officers is just as permissible as killing enemy soldiers. Command and control structures are legitimate targets.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 1:23 PM

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

A two-fer!

Enjoy your eternity in nirvana he11, you fat little b@stard.

UltimateBob on September 30, 2011 at 1:23 PM

It doesn’t matter how many times you say it.

I wonder what paulsur’s position on the bin Laden raid is?

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Apples and oranges. Bin Laden was not a U.S. citizen. Our bill of rights have conferred upon him no right of due process.

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Bin Laden was not a U.S. citizen. Our bill of rights have conferred upon him no right of due process.

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 1:26 PM

If you go back to page 2 of the comments, you’ll see the law I posted which states that actively taking arms against the US or using military force to undermind/overthrow the US automatically revokes your citizenship.

bin Laden died as much of a US citizen as al-Awlaki did.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 1:28 PM

But every US citizen should get due process. Obama can’t be trusted with this kind of executive discretion, period. There will be more presidents who can’t.

J.E. Dyer on September 30, 2011 at 1:22 PM

It is also within your rights to waive your due process.

anuts on September 30, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Dusty on September 30, 2011 at 12:31 PM

On that road, it could be argued that Lincoln ordered the killing of thousands of American citizens. He did not acknowledge the legality of the CSA, which means the residents of the seceded states were considered American citizens by the US Commander in Chief, regardless of what the southerners thought. It would be impossible to determine how many soldiers in the CSA took the legal steps to denounce their US citizenship, but I feel safe in saying it wasn’t 100%.

BobMbx on September 30, 2011 at 1:34 PM

If you go back to page 2 of the comments, you’ll see the law I posted which states that actively taking arms against the US or using military force to undermind/overthrow the US automatically revokes your citizenship.

bin Laden died as much of a US citizen as al-Awlaki did.

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 1:28 PM

He was never found guilty of treason in any trial by his peers.
Innocent until proven guilty. Obama is not God.

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Cool! Let’s form a HUMAN SHIELD – for Allahpundit!

Blake on September 30, 2011 at 12:41 PM

We need a picture first.

BobMbx on September 30, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Free Samir Khan!!

Oh wait…

faraway on September 30, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Free Samir Khan!!

Oh wait…

faraway

Now thats funny.

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 1:37 PM

I agree the guy should have been taken out. I’m glad he’s dead.

Here’s is where we differ: I want the executive branch to prove that he was working for a declared enemy before killing him. The constitution demands it.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 1:08 PM

What’s to prove? The guy is well known, and on his own recognizance, that he is an enemy to the US. Confessions are still evidence, and both of these guys boasted about how they were directing warfare against the US.

What more proof do you want? It’s not like these guys were trying to claim innocence. You seem to be thinking of a situation where the government is trying to kill a guy who might be innocent, or there is some question. Well, I’d agree there. But these guys weren’t innocent, no one believes it, and more importantly, they themselves don’t claim it! If you had hauled them into court, they couldn’t have claimed innocence, and the case to prove them guilty is, as stated above, a 5 minute endeavor.

So why bother? Formalities for the sake of formalities, especially if it involves killing your own troops, is stupid.

Vanceone on September 30, 2011 at 1:15 PM

What possible reason is there to vest the unilateral power in one branch, particularly when time isn’t an issue?

Do you believe Nidal Hasan deserves a trial? After all, he’s a citizen, but everyone knows he did it and it certainly looked like an act of war to me. What about Jared Loughner? Everyone knows he did it, too.

Why are you reluctant to run cases like this up the judicial flag pole? That’s all I am asking for. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have killed him.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Look, I aint gonna mourn this dudes death.
Life is a beach.
Shiite aint fair.
But the argument that he is a traitor is simply unsubstanciated legally. it is for you and I that I make this argument and not for that dirtbag.

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Do you believe Nidal Hasan deserves a trial? After all, he’s a citizen, but everyone knows he did it and it certainly looked like an act of war to me. What about Jared Loughner? Everyone knows he did it, too.

Why are you reluctant to run cases like this up the judicial flag pole? That’s all I am asking for. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have killed him.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 1:38 PM

To the heart of the matter!

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 1:40 PM

If you want to make the argument that the government should not kill US citizens in a war, you may want to find a more sympathetic example than Awlaki.

It’s kind of ridiculous to use Awlaki’s death to push an argument that this could happen to *any* US citizen. When it happens to Joe Sixpack, froth-mouthed blogger from Idaho, then I think you’d have an argument.

JohnTant on September 30, 2011 at 1:43 PM

It is when you arbitrarily give that authority over to your government without any right of due process to protect its citizens.

[paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 12:48 PM]

Arbitrarily? I think you need to read what people who know what they are talking about on the subject of US citizens engaging in armed conflict with the US have to say about that and other issues.

Try here, for starters, and work backwards.

Dusty on September 30, 2011 at 1:45 PM

If you want to make the argument that the government should not kill US citizens in a war, you may want to find a more sympathetic example than Awlaki.

It’s kind of ridiculous to use Awlaki’s death to push an argument that this could happen to *any* US citizen. When it happens to Joe Sixpack, froth-mouthed blogger from Idaho, then I think you’d have an argument.

JohnTant on September 30, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Maybe you don’t remember Janet Reno.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Are people saying this is a test run for right wing terrorists?

faraway on September 30, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Alternate headline: Production of Sequel to The Jewel of the Nile Halted After Suspicious Death on Set

Christien on September 30, 2011 at 1:48 PM

All enemies, foreign and domestic, bitches.

Christien on September 30, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Maybe you don’t remember Janet Reno.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 1:47 PM

She used drone strikes…?

JohnTant on September 30, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Here’s is where we differ: I want the executive branch to prove that he was working for a declared enemy before killing him. The constitution demands it.
Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Does the constitution demand that a police officer wait until he can prove that a suspect is guilty of murder before he can start shooting a said suspect when he runs away after being identified?

Count to 10 on September 30, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Are people saying this is a test run for right wing terrorists?

faraway on September 30, 2011 at 1:47 PM

No, I’d say there are people so locked into dogma that flexible thought and reasoning are made difficult if not impossible.

JohnTant on September 30, 2011 at 1:52 PM

I just wish we could have tracked him down and gotten some intelligence from him and treated him like the others we have in custody. If we knew his location, why couldn’t we have done that?

Obumbles doesn’t want to further anger the anti-Gitmo radical left.

hillbillyjim on September 30, 2011 at 1:55 PM

What possible reason is there to vest the unilateral power in one branch, particularly when time isn’t an issue?

Do you believe Nidal Hasan deserves a trial? After all, he’s a citizen, but everyone knows he did it and it certainly looked like an act of war to me. What about Jared Loughner? Everyone knows he did it, too.

Why are you reluctant to run cases like this up the judicial flag pole? That’s all I am asking for. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have killed him.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 1:38 PM

The difference between Hasan, Loughner, and Awlaki is this: The first two are already in custody! If Awlaki had wandered into custody, fantastic. Let’s get the military tribunal going (just like Hasan).

But you guys are saying that Awlaki deserves the same rights, and we must take the risk of further damage to American personnel to give him his rights. In a case like this, where it’s academic anyway, why should we risk killing a good SEAL team or what have you to give him rights we already know he forfeited anyway? Tokyo Rose didn’t get any special forces sent after her; if she had died in the firebombing of Tokyo, I’d not be worried.

More to the point, HOW would have let Alwaki get his rights? He wasn’t going to volunteer for a trial. Seems to me you are saying that he can’t be killed until 12 good men and true convict him in open court of murder. Well, is it worth it to get him to court? He was killed in the middle of a large group of bodyguards. Why are they okay to die, but not this guy? Seems to me that if I were a dictator, I’d apply for US citizenship stat–I’d be immune from US anything, then.

We can prosecute Hasan and Loughner because, well, they are available to prosecute. This guy isn’t, he’s behind enemy lines, and by golly, that’s enemy lines! He isn’t coming peacefully! So why treat him peacefully? What rights of citizenship has he retained? Waging war against a state pretty much is the prima facie case for forfeiting citizenship! He is convicted on his open confession on videos; there’s no need for a trial.

Because once you get a trial, and agree to that, then what about service? Do you know how hard it is to get “due process” without effective service of process? Does Alwaki get notice of the proceedings against him, so he can challenge them? How is said service to be determined? Publication? In what? And what about his Sixth amendment right to counsel? Do we have to appoint him counsel and pay for it out of taxpayer funds? “Hey, guy with gun waging war, pardon us while we take 6 months to determine whether we can fight back.” What venue, and court? A special court? We don’t have one court designed to determine citizenship questions of our enemies. 9th circuit? San Fransisco? What if we get a conviction and some liberal loon files an appeal on ineffective assistance of counsel? How long do we have to wait to let the appeals process run out?

What rights does this guy have if he has the right to a trial taking away his citizenship? All his rights? Only some? Which ones has he forfeited? Right to a jury? Search and seizure? If he’s forfeited those, then why not these others?

Tell me, what rights does Awlaki have and not have? This is capital punishment, too… what about habeaus corpus? Direct appeal to the Supreme Court, like every capital case nowadays has to have the Supremes rule whether said person can be executed. Does it all come down to Anthony Kennedy and what he had for lunch? Gee, that’s not capricious! And what a way to wage war! Gosh, too bad Kennedy decided this guy was a citizen, so we have to arrest him, and while we were arguing it, he just planned an airplane bombing and killed 200 more people. Good thing we let Awlaki have his “rights” though!

Vanceone on September 30, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Do you believe Nidal Hasan deserves a trial? After all, he’s a citizen, but everyone knows he did it and it certainly looked like an act of war to me. What about Jared Loughner? Everyone knows he did it, too.
Why are you reluctant to run cases like this up the judicial flag pole? That’s all I am asking for. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have killed him.
Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 1:38 PM
To the heart of the matter!
paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Which of them surrendered to authorities (willingly or unwillingly)? When someone accuses you of a crime, you surrender yourself to receive your rights. If you run, Or otherwise resist, you may be harmed in the process. Of you resist to such an extent that apprehending you would put other lives at risk, expect to get sniped. This is regardless of the validity of the orinal charge.

Count to 10 on September 30, 2011 at 1:58 PM

She used drone strikes…?

JohnTant on September 30, 2011 at 1:51 PM

That may not be a good line of attack. Remember this?

faraway on September 30, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Funniest DRUDGE headline evah:

US officials give Anwar al-Awlaki new, elevated title after killing him…

petefrt on September 30, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Funniest DRUDGE headline evah:

US officials give Anwar al-Awlaki new, elevated title after killing him…

petefrt on September 30, 2011 at 2:01 PM

The headline is funny but what the Obama admin. did surpasses Goebbels/Machiavelli/Pinocchio all merged into one.

Media and people of the U.S., wake up! You are being robbed of the last oz. of decency you have left.

———————–

Get Adam Gadahn next, and please don’t enhance his title.

Schadenfreude on September 30, 2011 at 2:06 PM

Hey Ron Paul (and your 2000 idiots that follow you around) . . . Pound Sand!

May that dirt bag “Al-Awl-awful” rot in h*ll!

rebuzz on September 30, 2011 at 2:06 PM

U.S. officials have given Anwar al-Aulaqi a newly elevated designation on the day of his death by drone strike, describing him as “chief of external operations” for al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen.

The new title, cited by officials at the White House and the CIA, reflects Aulaqi’s evolution from Muslim cleric to alleged terrorist plotter, as well as a desire by American officials to persuade the public that the extraordinary killing of a U.S. citizen overseas was warranted.

Not Goebbels, not the USSR, not anyone, surpasses the Obama administration at propaganda. It should scare the world and the U.S., if anyone were thinking.

Schadenfreude on September 30, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Is Obama guilty of War Crimes?

faraway on September 30, 2011 at 2:09 PM

What possible reason is there to vest the unilateral power in one branch, particularly when time isn’t an issue?

Do you believe Nidal Hasan deserves a trial? After all, he’s a citizen, but everyone knows he did it and it certainly looked like an act of war to me. What about Jared Loughner? Everyone knows he did it, too.

Why are you reluctant to run cases like this up the judicial flag pole? That’s all I am asking for. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have killed him.

[Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 1:38 PM]

This is ridiculous. Are you suggesting that if the Nidal Hassan event had ended with some LE person, private citizen, or member of the military killing Hassan, that his due process rights would have been violated? Ditto Loughner? Would you be accusing those who had stopped either of them by shooting them dead of acting arbitrarily? Would you be advocating those persons be tried for murder? Are you advocating that that be the standard now for everyone having killed someone in self-defense?

There is barely a thread of ‘vesting unilateral power’ in one branch here. Congress provided an AUMF to the Executive Branch, which give the government the power, by law, tradition and the Constitution, to have powers not available to the government and it’s officers in theatres outside the jurisdiction of the conduct of the war.

If you want to run something pertinent up the flagpole, run this excerpt:

One thing that does appear quite settled as far as the US government’s position is concerned, however, is that it is simply inapposite to talk about this as “summary execution upon nothing more than the order of the President” — it’s simply not the correct legal frame. Ben Wittes names a number of these factors in his Lawfare discussion of the process that is due in this matter. I’d say that among other things, the “summary execution without due process” meme fails to take account of

* taking up operational roles in armed conflict against the United States;
* fleeing to places beyond the bounds of law enforcement that might serve to arrest Al-Aulaqi if he had been in the territorial US;
* the existence of robust domestic legal authorities for undertaking lethal action even against a US citizen (it is not as if this was not understood as a possibility in the Cold War);
* acknowledgment that the US was willing to consider ways to accepting surrender and coming into custody that would allow judicial review; and
* a lengthy judicial opinion that refused to take a simplistic view of due process in this very case (in either direction, simply targetable combatant or US citizen denied due process) irrespective of whether one thinks the outcome correct or not.

These and other such circumstances re-draw the caricature offered on some of the blogs of the President taking it into his head to assassinate, using death from the skies, some US citizen who merely happens to be outside the US at that moment. Whatever the situation is exactly, it is a lot more than that.

Dusty on September 30, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Get Adam Gadahn next, and please don’t enhance his title.

[Schadenfreude on September 30, 2011 at 2:06 PM]

Obama does seem to show up a day late and a dollar short with just about everything he does, doesn’t he.

Dusty on September 30, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Washington Nearsider on September 30, 2011 at 12:34 PM
paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Incompetano published a memo describing domestic terrorists. Do you remember who she enumerated as potential recruits?

Nearsider, while this attack is justified, we probably want to be cautious about giving the empty suit a license to do this without some oversight.

Not Goebbels, not the USSR, not anyone, surpasses the Obama administration at propaganda. It should scare the world and the U.S., if anyone were thinking.

Schadenfreude on September 30, 2011 at 2:08 PM

You are correct. As many have posted here on HA previously. I don’t understand why nobody calls them on it though.

dogsoldier on September 30, 2011 at 2:24 PM

I love it when people jump on Lincoln’s supposedly unconstitutional suspension of habeuas corpus. Obviously they haven’t ever read Article I, section 9, which says…

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

The Civil War was an act of rebellion, therefore, Lincoln was clearly within his rights to suspend habeas corpus.

“WOAT” said someone… who’s obviously not read his Constitution.

psrch on September 30, 2011 at 2:27 PM

In legal parlance Awalaki was, at the very least, suspected of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. He was not holed up inside an apartment in Seattle, nor a cabin in the woods in Pennsylvania where legal authorities could track him down to make an arrest and give him due process. He was living in a foreign nation where cooperation with any US autorities is on a day-to-day basis at best and US civil authorities could not arrest him nor otherwise bring him to any semblance of civil justice according to the Constitution or inhibit his ability to conduct activities. He continued to actively plan and implement ongoing terroist acts that, left unopposed, may have already and certainly could result in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of people. The old cliche’ of “the Constitution is not a suicide pact” applies here. Do we absorb every future Awalaki planned terrorist attack using the excuse that it’s the price we have to pay because he was born in New Mexico? That’s just alot of bovine fecal matter! I’m glad the SOB is dead and I don’t give a rat’s arse where he was born.

sdd on September 30, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Vanceone on September 30, 2011 at 1:56 PM

NO NO NO!!!!!!

I never called for a trial for Awlaki, nor did I ever suggest we use a SEAL extraction team either. That’s absurd.

What I am calling for is quite simple and doable: a FISA-like judicial review of the target’s file before he is vaporized. That’s hardly burdensome.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Inspired, indeed.

John the Libertarian on September 30, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Update: This just in the editors of the popular conservative blog Hot Air.com have been killed in a drone strike conducted by U.S. Intelligence. Just last week, in an off handed remark, the Vice President of the United States referred to editors of the popular conservative polical blog as “terrorists”.
CIA chief David Petraeus commented “After the Vice president identifed these individuals as terrorists, we added them to our kill or capture list. An oppurtunity presented itself for us to utilize our assets in the region to take a major shot at decapitating this offshoot of radical extermism.”

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 12:31 P

Huh. Was completely unaware that the Veep was the commander-in-chief. I always thought that responsibility was the President’s. Are we reading the same Constitution?

IOW, who gives a rat’s fat a$$ WHAT Biden called whom?

Now, renouncing your citizenship – whether by word or deed – and providing service to a recognized military target, that DOES fall into the purview of the President in HIS role as CIC.

psrch on September 30, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Who needs a jury of peers to confer sentence when you have government to decide for you!

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 12:51 PM

The true question is, Who needs a jury of peers to confer the ability for the CinC to strike a military target? And the answer is… NO ONE!

Why on earth are we trying to treat war as a criminal matter?

psrch on September 30, 2011 at 2:39 PM

The old cliche’ of “the Constitution is not a suicide pact” applies here. Do we absorb every future Awalaki planned terrorist attack using the excuse that it’s the price we have to pay because he was born in New Mexico? That’s just alot of bovine fecal matter! I’m glad the SOB is dead and I don’t give a rat’s arse where he was born.

We do not have to. Our system works. We always had a choice to give him due process and bring evidence against him, and have sentence pronouced upon him. The manner in which he ultimately was brought to justice is not the issue. We also had a responsibility to do so, not only for him, but for you, I and everyone one else who uniquely is an American citizen, becuase that is who we are, and it is our right, it is our liberty and our freedom.

paulsur on September 30, 2011 at 2:39 PM

NO NO NO!!!!!!

I never called for a trial for Awlaki, nor did I ever suggest we use a SEAL extraction team either. That’s absurd.

What I am calling for is quite simple and doable: a FISA-like judicial review of the target’s file before he is vaporized. That’s hardly burdensome.

Stayright on September 30, 2011 at 2:36 PM

And that does precisely what for Awlaki’s constitutional rights? Can he object to the procedures? Is it secret? So you are uncomfortable with Obama just ordering the kill shot, but if Obama went to a secret Judge who only rubber stamps these requests, it is all okay? What’s the point? Is the FISA judge going to say no? Can he? What practical recourse does an American citizen have in your scenario if the Feds are exercising a vendetta against those evil right wingers?

If the FISA court makes absolutely no difference, why bother? Would it have changed anything in this case? Gadahn? Anyone ELSE that’s an American citizen (allegedly) before being vaporized?

So why bother? Especially once we admit that, “well, he’s a citizen, he deserves at least this much…” and then we get back into the whole what rights does Awlaki have and what doesn’t he? You didn’t address that part of my question: does he deserve service, trial by jury, etc? And if not, why not?

Vanceone on September 30, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Not to sound all lefty-like, but the guy was a US Citizen.

What gets me is that the left will be silent on this and be cool with it (as I am) while at the same time they would be against us capturing him and sending him to GITMO.

Their #1 problem with GITMO was that it denied the prisoners “due process”.

So let’s be clear: the left gets all worked up about holding these terrorists in GITMO because they receive a military tribunal and can be held indefinitely and that is against their “due process”, but turning them into goo using a drone or other means which ALSO denies them any “due process” and ENDS THEIR LIFE is Okey-dokey.

The left has no argument or rational platform anymore. Their whole ideology is false and built on a foundation of pure hypocrisy.

Opposite Day on September 30, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Was anybody else in the car, who just happened to be a terrorist ?
Anwar al-Awlaki is collateral damage.

Warning: Hanging out with known terrorists may be hazardous to your health

J_Crater on September 30, 2011 at 2:57 PM

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