Assassination nation: Are there any limits on President Obama's license to kill?
The US government has admitted that it has added the names of other Americans to a list for targeted killing. The American Civil Liberties Union sued last year to compel the government “to disclose the legal standard it uses to place US citizens on government kill lists,” but was thwarted when the Obama administration claimed the entire program was a “state secret.” Last December, federal Judge John Bates dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit because “there are circumstances in which the Executive’s unilateral decision to kill a US citizen overseas” is “judicially unreviewable.”
Presidential power grabs
Unfortunately, the current assassination program is merely an extension of presidential power grabs going back into the last century. In 1998, President Clinton launched a missile strike against a Sudan pill producer after US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed. After the US government failed to offer any evidence linking its target in Sudan to the terrorist attacks, the owners of Sudan’s largest pharmaceutical factory sued for compensation for damage. In 2009, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decreed: “President Clinton, in his capacity as commander in chief, fired missiles at a target of his choosing to pursue a military objective he had determined was in the national interest. Under the Constitution, this decision is immune from judicial review.”