On the Claimed “War Exception” to the Constitution

From Salon:

Last week, I wrote about a revelation buried in a Washington Post article by Dana Priest which described how the Obama administration has adopted the Bush policy of targeting selected American citizens for assassination if they are deemed (by the Executive Branch) to be Terrorists.  As The Washington Times‘ Eli Lake reports, Adm. Dennis Blair was asked about this program at a Congressional hearing yesterday and he acknowledged its existence:

The U.S. intelligence community policy on killing American citizens who have joined al Qaeda requires first obtaining high-level government approval, a senior official disclosed to Congress on Wednesday.

Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said in each case a decision to use lethal force against a U.S. citizen must get special permission. . . .

He also said there are criteria that must be met to authorize the killing of a U.S. citizen that include “whether that American is involved in a group that is trying to attack us, whether that American is a threat to other Americans. Those are the factors involved.”

Although Blair emphasized that it requires “special permission” before an American citizen can be placed on the assassination list, consider from whom that “permission” is obtained:  the President, or someone else under his authority within the Executive Branch.  There are no outside checks or limits at all on how these “factors” are weighed.  In last week’s post, I wrote about all the reasons why it’s so dangerous — as well as both legally and Consitutionally dubious — to allow the President to kill American citizens not on an active battlefield during combat, but while they are sleeping, sitting with their families in their home, walking on the street, etc.  That’s basically giving the President the power to impose death sentences on his own citizens w

[Read more at Salon]

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  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/PDDVWRQVUPMKRGHURIEQVNYWHQ Sean

    the government has been killing citizens for much less for a long time

    • 5by5

      So does that somehow excuse making things even worse, Sean?

  • 5by5

    No checks and balances, no habeus corpus, no evidence presented & reviewed openly by your peers, no chance to present a counter argument. Just permission from a politician, and you’re roadkill to a predator drone.

    Nice. Gee, where could this go wrong? Pfft.

    More proof that Blair should have been prosecuted for the war crimes he committed in East Timor, and never should have been allowed within a hundred yards of the role as DNI.

    This crap is basically “Divine Right of Kings 2.0″. You remember, the kind of stuff we REBELLED AGAINST to found this country in the first place?

  • 5by5

    No checks and balances, no habeus corpus, no evidence presented & reviewed openly by your peers, no chance to present a counter argument. Just permission from a politician, and you're roadkill to a predator drone.

    Nice. Gee, where could this go wrong? Pfft.

    More proof that Blair should have been prosecuted for the war crimes he committed in East Timor, and never should have been allowed within a hundred yards of the role as DNI.

    This crap is basically “Divine Right of Kings 2.0″. You remember, the kind of stuff we REBELLED AGAINST to found this country in the first place?