Americans Assassinating Americans
Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair acknowledged Wednesday that government agencies may kill U.S. citizens abroad who are involved in terrorist activities if they are “taking action that threatens Americans.”
Blair told members of the House intelligence committee that he was speaking publicly about the issue to reassure Americans that intelligence agencies and the Department of Defense “follow a set of defined policy and legal procedures that are very carefully observed” in the use of lethal force against U.S. citizens.
That makes it sound an awful lot like there’s a thorough discussion of which Americans may be killed. Blair: “We take direct action against terrorists in the intelligence community. If that direct action, we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that.” The so-called assassinations ban isn’t ironclad, but still, this appears to be a fairly low standard for killing an American citizen:
The director of national intelligence said the factors that “primarily” weigh on the decision to target an American include “whether that American is involved in a group that is trying to attack us, whether that American is a threat to other Americans.”