On February 4, a secret White House memo was leaked, entitled “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen who is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qa’ida or An Associated Force.” The memo in effect states that the President has the authority to kill any American citizen at anytime for any reason without proof, without due process, and with absolutely no oversight.
No one blinked an eye when American-born al-Qaeda-linked terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki was vaporized with a drone strike in September of 2011. But when his sixteen-year-old son, Abdulrahman, an American citizen born in Denver, Colorado, was vaporized in the same manner two weeks later without any proof that he had any connection to al-Qaeda, both the Left and Right cried foul.
Abdulrahman, along with several other teenagers, was engaged in the “terrorist” act of taking part in an outdoor barbecue.
According to the Abdulrahman’s grandfather:
To kill a teenager is just unbelievable, really, and they claim that he is an al-Qaeda militant. It’s nonsense,” said Nasser al-Awlaki, a former Yemeni agriculture minister who was Anwar al-Awlaki’s father and the boy’s grandfather.
In fact, if we look at the key passage in Obama’s secret kill list memo, its legal justification does not simply require connection to al-Qaeda, but that he be deemed an “operational leader”:
The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.
But whether Abdulrahman was a leader of al-Qaeda or not is really not the point. The point of the secret memo that has everyone up in arms is that Obama not only does not have to grant American citizens abroad due process, but that there is no oversight to the kill list; that Obama does not have to prove to any entity, including his own Administration, that the person killed presents a threat to the United States.
Of course, the next question becomes: If Obama can suspend due process and murder American citizens abroad, does he then have the authority to do the same thing on American soil?
This was the question asked and ignored on the day after the secret memo was released, whereby Obama abruptly left the press conference, leaving White House spokesman Jay Carney flapping in the wind. Carney called Obama’s unchecked power of “surgical drone strikes” “legal, ethical, and wise,” which sounded very pithy, but never answered the question.
Of course, we already know the answer to this question, as Obama’s legal justification as stated in the memo does not distinguish whether the American citizen is living in the United States or abroad.
The Left, as we have seen in the last few days, are coming to realize what conservatives have known for some time: We have a dictator in the Oval Office.