Obama admin won’t say if they claim authority to assassinate US citizens on US soil without charges


Madison Ruppert

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Obama administration’s assassination program is the fact that they simply refuse to address if they claim the authority to kill Americans on US soil without charge or trial.

While they clearly claim the authority to kill Americans abroad without requiring any clear evidence based on secret meetings and a classified legal justification, they dodge any and all questions around assassinations on US soil.

Obama admin won’t say if they claim authority to assassinate US citizens on US soil without charges

Individuals in the Obama administration – including Obama himself – have chosen to simply answer a question that was never asked when they are confronted with the issue.

This recently came up in a series of written questions and answers (original without notes here) from Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to John Brennan, Obama’s nominee for the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

“Could the Administration carry out drone strikes inside the United States?” asked the Committee.

“This Administration has not carried out drone strikes inside the United States and has no intention of doing so,” Brennan responded.

No one asked Brennan if the Obama administration has carried out drone strikes in the United States or if they have the intention to do so. The question was if they could carry out such a strike. This was not answered.

When asked, “Could you describe the geographical limits on the Administration’s conduct drone strikes?”

Brennan responded that the Obama administration does not “view our authority to use military force against al-Qa’ida and associated forces as being limited to ‘hot’ battlefields like Afghanistan.”

“Al-Qa’ida and its associates have in the recent past directed several attacks against us from countries other than Afghanistan. The Government has a responsibility to protect its citizens from these attacks, and, thus, as the Attorney General has noted, ‘neither Congress nor our federal courts has limited the geographic scope of our ability to use force to the current conflict in Afghanistan,’” Brennan wrote.

“This does not mean, however, that we use military force whenever or wherever we want,” he continued. “International legal principles, such as respect for another nation’s sovereignty, constrain our ability to act unilaterally. Using force in another country is consistent with these international legal principles if conducted, for example, with the consent of the relevant nation – or if or when other governments are unwilling or unable to deal effectively with a threat to the United States.”

Unfortunately, this answer does not rule out assassinations on US soil in any way.

Glenn Greenwald, writing for the Guardian, further points out that Obama has also dodged the question when it was posed to him in a Google hangout, of all places.

“A lot of people are very concerned that your administration now believes it is legal to have drone strikes on Americans and whether or not that’s specifically allowed with citizens within the United States,” said Lee Doren during the hangout.

“And if that’s not true what will you do to create a legal framework to make American citizens within the United States know that drone strikes cannot be used against American citizens?” Doren asked.

“First of all, I think there’s never been a drone used on an American citizen on American soil and we respect and have a whole bunch of safeguards in terms of how we conduct counterterrorism operations outside the United States,” Obama replied.

“The rules outside the United States are going to be different than the rules inside the United States in part because our capacity to – for example – capture terrorists in the United States are very different in the foothills or mountains of Afghanistan or Pakistan,” he said.

Obama, like Brennan, simply answered a question that was not asked. No one asked him if a drone strike has been used on an American on American soil.

Obama did not answer the question as it was posed in any meaningful way.

Obama went on to concede that “it is not sufficient for citizens to just take my word for it that we are doing the right thing.”

Unfortunately, that’s precisely what we have to do.

“I am the head of the executive branch. And what we’ve done so far is to try to work with Congress on oversight issues,” Obama said.

The evidence of that is nonexistent. While some have promoted some kind of oversight of the drone assassin program, they essentially recommend another secret court to oversee the program.

Some, like Senator Lindsey Graham, see even that little oversight as “the worst thing in the world.”

The anger surrounding the lack of transparency is shared by Senator Rand Paul.

Paul asked Brennan, “Do you believe that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a US citizen on US soil, and without trial?”

“Until you directly and clearly answer, I plan to use every procedural option at my disposal to delay your confirmation and bring added scrutiny to this issue,” Paul wrote in a letter.

Paul has pointed out that Obama and Brennan have been asked this question previously on multiple occasions (see here and here) with no answer.

Greenwald writes that Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat, said that he shares the concerns outlined in Paul’s letter but is not yet ready to threaten a filibuster.

“Congress needs a better understanding of how the Executive Branch interprets the limits of its authorities,” Udall said, according to Greenwald.

Udall also pointed Greenwald to the recent New York Times article outlining the growing anger among several other Democrat senators over this highly secretive assassination program.

“Not only does the Obama administration refuse to make these legal memoranda public – senators have been repeatedly demanding for more than full year to see them – but they only two weeks ago permitted members to look at two of those memos, but ‘were available to be viewed only for a limited time and only by senators themselves, not their lawyers and experts,’” Greenwald notes.

In his article, Greenwald goes on to explore the issue in much greater detail and thus the article is highly recommended for those who want to learn more.

Suffice it to say, at this point it is impossible to say if the Obama administration claims the authority to kill Americans on US soil without charge or trial. It might be wonderful to pretend otherwise but it would be unwarranted since neither Brennan nor Obama will outright say so.

This article first appeared at End the Lie.

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6 Responses

  1. gary says:

    They will just do the same thing as LAPD did with Dorner. Just go kill the person. LAPD could have just shot in some tear gas or sleep agent in the the house and then retrieved a passed out Dorner. Then taken him to jail for a trail by a jury. They were more interested in just killing him.

  2. 5 War Veteran says:

    Actions speak louder than words, is anybody paying attention to those actions. Like signinf more than 6000 new laws into effect last month alone?
    When is government too much government?

  3. common law p.a.g. Chris says:

    In Law: “SILENCE” means; when an obligation to answer or speak exists, denotes: tacit admission to the inquiry!
    O’bamanation Is SHOUTING LOUDLY: sub silentio (below silence):
    That he as Revolutionary Dictator Gorilla Thief in Chief; absolutely unequivocally irrefutably renders all, able to presume to assume:he deems his demonic self: de facto Licensed to Kill at Will: ANY he lusts to annihilate vaporize or silence? PRAY for our CREATOR’S DEVINE INTERCESSION? Please PRAY?

  4. DDearborn says:


    The lack of a response by the President means only one thing: Yes American citizens can be targets on US soil. After all he has already murdered American citizens outside the US. And for all we know he has already murderd American citizens on US soil.

    How could anybody be surprised. Look at what was done in Waco Texas. The United States government burned dozens of women and children alive. And yet the media is still trying to convince you that some how some way the federal government has not really truly crossed the rubicon yet? Wake up people. that bridge was crossed in 1860 and the international bankers have never looked back. And no I am in no way shape or form supporting slavery. What I am referring to is the process in which we entered the war and the people that profited from it. It is roughtly speaking the same group that has profited from and started every single war America has entered since then.

  5. SERF says:

    a 7mm Remington Magnum is a very good equaliser when it comes to taking people out without any trial. The LAW has always been, not guilty until proven guilty, which these bastards have amended to guilty until you can prove otherwise. When the goverment of a country declares war on its own people by killing without trial, they leave themselves open to counter attacks. What fun i would have with a Barret 107. but then you run into ammo problems. Yes i think the 7mm will do. The so called goverment employees who are supposed to REPRESENT the people , would need bullet proof underwear.

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