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Tue Jun 24, 2014, 06:35 AM

Obama’s Drone Memo Revealed: US Gov’t can over-rule 4th Amendment


Obama’s Drone Memo Revealed: US Gov’t can over-rule 4th Amendment
By contributors | Jun. 24, 2014
By Sarah Lazare

The U.S. government on Monday partially released the formerly-classified Department of Justice "drone memo," dated 2010, in which Obama administration lawyers argue they have the right to extra-judicially kill U.S. citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi in Yemen.

Anwar Al Aulaqi, who had been placed on a "kill list," died by U.S. drone strikes in September 2011, along with Samir Khan, as well as three other people. Just weeks later, another U.S. drone attack on a restaurant in Yemen killed Anwar Al-Aulaqi's son Abdulrahman, also a U.S. citizen, and six other civilians.

In the memo, which is addressed to attorney general Eric Holder, David Barron—then head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel—argues that the targeted killing is legal “where, as here, the target's activities pose a ‘continued and imminent threat of violence or death' to U.S. persons, ‘the highest officers in the Intelligence Community have reviewed the factual basis’ for the lethal operation, and a capture operation would be infeasible.”


Barron claims the killing is justified by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force—a highly controversial and expansive congressional act that has been expansively interpreted by the Bush and Obama administrations to authorize ongoing war and occupation in Afghanistan, covert drone wars in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, military intervention in countries from Ethiopia to Iraq, indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay and Bagram prison, and more.


AUMF - the gift that keeps on giving.

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Reply Obama’s Drone Memo Revealed: US Gov’t can over-rule 4th Amendment (Original post)
unhappycamper Jun 2014 OP
merrily Jun 2014 #1

Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Tue Jun 24, 2014, 07:06 AM

1. Drone killings override a lot more amendments than the 4th.

Especially when you send them into things like wedding celebrations.

Right to a trial, right to face your accusers, right to counsel, etc.

And, I will say it until I die: Nothing in the Constitution limits those rights to citizens. Where the Constitution means only citizens, it says "citizen." No guesswork needed.

Eric Holder has said something like "Who can say that the decision of Obama alone doesn't satisfy the requirements of the due process clause?"

I've never heard anything more ridiculous masquerading as an interpretation of the Constitution than that question, maybe not even from Scalia. Apparently, Holder thinks it's reasonable to take us right back to the King of England in 1215 a.d., before citizens demanded the Magna Carta.

Who's to say what "due process" means? Well, Mr. Attorney General and Mr. Constitutional Law Professor, the portions of the Magna Carta and its sibling, the Bill of Rights, that deal with criminal law are a significant hint.

BTW: One of the original counterparts of the Magna Carta is supposed to be be in Boston on July 2. That week (dubbed "Harborfest" may just be Boston's busiest tourist time (Cape Cod, and Lexington and Concord, too), so I don't know if lodgings will be available anywhere near enough to Boston to be reasonable. (Still a great time to visit Boston, though.)

I am sure the lines to view the Magna Carta will be long. But it will be in the Museum until September.


An 800 year old embodiment of the idea that, for the first time in human history, people, not only monarchs, had rights, not mere grace or generosity of the king--if he felt like it.

For me, that wing of the museum this summer will be the closest anything secular comes to holy ground. How I wish we could hear from and question the people who conceived of it, demanded it and got it.

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