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Can drone strikes target US citizens? Critics say rules are vague.

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First, the basics: the 16-page memo was obtained by NBC News and published on its website. It appears to be an unclassified Justice paper summarizing a longer, classified Office of Legal Counsel official finding on when it is – and isn’t – legal for US security officials to target US citizens suspected of working with Al Qaeda.

That classified memo, in turn, was drawn up prior to the 2011 drone strike in Yemen that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric born in New Mexico.

The paper obtained by NBC was apparently meant to be used to brief members of Congress. It outlines a three-part test for when US citizens might end up in their own nation’s cross-hairs.

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