Friday, September 30, 2011

Can U.S. legally kill a citizen overseas without due process?

Can U.S. legally kill a citizen overseas without due process?:

Sources to NBC News are reporting Samir Khan, editor of Inspire Magazine, is another American citizen that was killed in the air strike in Yemen, along with Anwar al-Awlaki. NBC's Bob Windrem reports.

By Pete Williams, NBC News justice correspondent

Is it legal for the federal government to kill a U.S. citizen overseas, someone who has never been charged or convicted of a crime? Civil liberties groups are condemning the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, but many legal scholars say it is justified.

No U.S. court has ever weighed in on the question, because judges consider these sorts of issues exclusively matters for the president.

Anwar al-Awlaki's father, Nasser, with the help of the ACLU, sued President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and CIA Director Leon Panetta a year ago, when it became clear that the U.S. was targeting the younger al-Awlaki. But U.S. District Judge John Bates threw the case out, ruling that federal courts were in no position to evaluate whether someone was a terrorist whose activities threatened national security and against whom the use of deadly force could be justified...

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