justification for murder despite an executive order banning assassinations
Several months after President Obama ordered Anwar Awlaki killed by the CIA, the Obama DOJ — specifically lawyers within its Office of Legal Counsel — produced a memorandum legally authorizing this action. Despite multiple requests, the Obama administration refuses to release that memo to the public. Several DOJ officials, hiding behind anonymity, have apparently refused to leak the memo, but have now selectively described parts of it to The New York Times‘ Charlie Savage – presumably the parts they wanted him to know about — and he then reported on what they said (offering some important counter-points along the way). As Savage put it:
The secret document provided the justification for acting [against Awlaki] despite an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law against murder, protections in the Bill of Rights and various strictures of the international laws of war, according to people familiar with the analysis.