Obama Administration Has Secret Panel That Can Put Americans On A “Kill List”

No, this is no internet conspiracy theory from mouth-breathing conspiracy mongers. This actually exists.

From Reuters:

American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.

There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House’s National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.

The panel was behind the decision to add Awlaki, a U.S.-born militant preacher with alleged al Qaeda connections, to the target list. He was killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen late last month.

The role of the president in ordering or ratifying a decision to target a citizen is fuzzy. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to discuss anything about the process.

I’m sure this is exactly the sort of thing the founders had in mind when they wrote the 5th amendment. Secret government kill panels that can order Americans dead.

Apparently the legal justification is two-fold. First, Congress’ designation of a “war on terror” in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and second international law which allows a nation to defend itself. I’m not sure about the international law argument, but I’m pretty sure that after 9/11 Congress authorized war in Afghanistan and Iraq. I don’t think the authorizations for those wars were intended to give the president broad latitude for assassinations outside of those conflicts, up to and including Americans.

Nor do I think the constitution’s requirement for “due process” is met by a secret government panel issuing secretive legal opinions about who can and cannot be killed.

After the very least, if our government is righteous in killing someone, shouldn’t they be transparent about their justification to do so?

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • SigFan

    And people thought Nixon’s enemies list was bad.  Dangerous times indeed.

    • robert108

      Compared to the obama and Clinton enemies list, Nixon’s was nothing.

      • Sparks

        You love Nixon.  We all get that.  You love McCarthy too.  We all get that too.  You love crooked racist c*nts.  Hooray.

  • robert108

    Your confusion is sourced in your regarding war as equivalent to street crime.

    • Brenarlo

      You seem to be saying an awful lot of bad things about this country lately… perhaps you’ll end up on that list. 

      • robert108

        Wrong again.  I’m saying good things about my country, and noting all the bad things about obama and the Dems.  Two separate things.
        BTW, it should take a lot more than free speech to get you on the list.  However, I don’t think obama loves free speech, when it comes from real Americans.

  • Jamermorrow

    This is the trap Conservatives always fall for. Give the government a little bit more power and they will abuse it. It would be nice if conservatives would draw a line in the sand and say government is already too big. Giving the government more power will not win the war on terror. 

    • robert108

      I guess “conservative” is just another word whose meaning you don’t know.  The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

      • Jamermorrow

        Once again how many terrorists have you personally killed? Armchair soldier.

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    Yawn.  Just another Death Panel …

  • Brenarlo

    So they can put someone on a list and kill them without presenting any evidence whatsoever to the American people? It’s all secret.  It’s all to protect us.  Kiss my ass.  Ron Paul was right, again.  This shit is dangerous.

    If we’re attacked only because the terrorists hate our freedom (an argument I don’t think passes the 3rd grade test) then maybe our government’s strategy is to just take away our freedom.  Hey, maybe the terrorists will move on to another country!!

    • Jamermorrow

      I fear politicians in Washington a lot more than some ass backwards Muslim in the Middle East.  The government can label anybody it wants as a terrorist and kill them.

      • borborygmi

        and they know where you are because of the chip placed by your tale bone at birth.

    • robert108

      No, when you make war on our country, it might get you killed.

      • Jamermorrow

        Who decides this? Maybe the freedom loving Neocons or Socialists?

  • A Citizen

    The governments version of “Star Chamber”

  • Pg1954ster

    Arguements from the same people who thought that Obama was a soft on terrorism.  The same people who complained that we shouldn’t give out our secrets and let the terrorist know we are coming.   
    Maybe it is a super secret plot of Obama’s that will get rid of the upper echelon of Muslim extremists so he can step in as the leader. Sneaky very sneaky.
       Now if they perform a few drone strikes on certain members of the cartels on our Southern Border.   

  • Jack Daniels

    This is nothing new.  It’s a matter of national security and survived Obumble rather than being created by him.  Americans on US soil will be arrested, not killed by drones in their mobile homes on the plains of Kansas.  Terrorists who happen to have a US passport, waging war on the US and planning attacks on American forces from a safe haven in Yemen or Pakistan fit the bill perfectly.  Obumble never made a single intelligence briefing as a Senator and didn’t even bother sending his aides on a regular basis.  I’d bet he was shocked to learn such things existed when he had to start taking intelligence/security briefings in person.

  • Bat One

    Reuters is “unexpectedly” blunt in describing Obama’s attempt at distancing himself from the extra-legal actions of his administration:

    Two principal legal theories were advanced, an official said: first, that the actions were permitted by Congress when it authorized the use of military forces against militants in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001; and they are permitted under international law if a country is defending itself.

    Several officials said that when Awlaki became the first American put on the target list, Obama was not required personally to approve the targeting of a person. But one official said Obama would be notified of the principals’ decision. If he objected, the decision would be nullified, the official said.A former official said one of the reasons for making senior officials principally responsible for nominating Americans for the target list was to “protect” the president.

    Incidentally, while those on the Left would probably love to paint this as an extension of Bush era tactics, there is no indication that either the targeting of American citizens or the mechanism for adding an American to the list of those targeted were begun during Mr. Bush’s term in office.  The extra-judicial killing of Americans is apparently an all-Obama initiative.

  • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

    Would the Founding Fathers have killed Benedict Arnold, after his betrayal, if given the chance?  I think so.

    • Bat One

      I believe that if you had actually read up on American Revolutionary era history you would know that Benedict Arnold was not only given a trial before he was executed, but in fact had two trials.  Your comparison, not surprisingly, is bullshit!

      • http://randysroundtable.blogspot.com/ Randy G

        As is everything the thing has ever spewed here.

        • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

          You are equally ignorant.  What a fucking joke!  You don’t even know your American history.

          Let this be an example to you that it’s not so much that you are ignorant, it’s that so much of what you know just isn’t so.

      • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

        Excuse me sir, but can you please point me to any specific reference that show’s Benedict Arnold was executed after a trial, PLEASE!

        You really need to do some reading, my friend.

      • Vlad

        You are setting a new standard for revisionist history. Benedict Arnold died in England in 1801.

      • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

        Bat One, I am quite sure George Washington gave direct orders to hang Benedict after he fled America to join forces with the English.  Arnold then came back to America to reap hell on Virginians. 

        Oh, you can rest assured he would have been shot, if given the chance.  But it looks like our Founding Fathers were more eager to make an example out of him, a dead one…..without a trial.

        You really are a lot of fun Bat.

  • WOOF

    People disappeared under the Bush regime.
    We know of some who died being tortured.
     Hard to know if others still exist.

    The new Sheriff, Barack Obama, gets his man.

    • Jamermorrow

      Remember Obama won’t always be in office. Would you want Bachman with this power?

  • Game

    So were the “Blues” in the civil war guilty of murdering the “greys” because they were killed without a trial.

    Oh wait, I forgot, in the Republican party, the Confederacy is something to be proud of. Never mind.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ND4GCBSJDSJQKJ7URVZD2I7QMY Larry

    Constitution? I don’t need no stinkin’ constitution. Just a few of the despot-in-chief’s extra-Constitutional actions. The PutzOTUS really would like to be dictator for life:
    table { font-size: 11pt } table p, li p { margin : 0px; }
    • President
    Barack Obama said Friday he is not going to wait any longer for
    Congress to change the
    • No Child Left Behind education law, he is doing
    it on his own without congressional authorization.   ‘So, given that Congress cannot act, I am acting.”
    • The Justice Department also declined to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.​• Further,
    members of Congress from both parties criticized Obama for sending
    military forces for regime change in Libya, charging he violated the War
    Powers Act by not seeking the approval of Congress.
    • Obama Tells Hispanic Group “He’d Like To Work Around Congress” This is a discussion on Obama Tells Hispanic Group “He’d Like To Work Around Congress” within the Immigration/Illegal Immigration forums, part of the US Discussion category; (
    • With respect to the Dream Act, Obama
    said that he has to enforce the current laws until the DREAM Act is
    passed. But then he seemed to explain how he is avoiding enforcing the
    laws. “We are doing everything we can administratively,” he said.
    “We’re not going to go chasing after this young man or anybody else
    who’s been acting responsibly and would otherwise qualify for legal
    status if the DREAM Act passed.”


  • Gern Blanston

    Ignoring the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ aspects of this policy, the interesting thing about all of this is the remarkable lack of outrage in the media. I think this would have been headline news for weeks under the Bush administration. I suspect Senator Obama would have jumped at the chance to have a presser discussing the need to arrest American citizens such as Awlaki and give them a fair trial under our constitution. Maybe Eddie and Rachel are up in arms about it on MSNBC – I wouldn’t know…

  • Camsaure

    Wow, Obama has really expanded on this! Clinton’s enemies only wound up dead in a Washington park. (with the exceptions of a group in Texas and Randy Weaver)