CINCINNATI – Neither the DNC, the RNC, or other anti-civil liberties groups blinked when the President yesterday, falsely stated to an Ohio reporter that he — the President — had “never confirmed” news reports of Anwar Awlaki’s death.
April 14, 1865: Abraham Lincoln becomes the first President of the United States to be assassinated by an American citizen.
September 11, 2001 (morning): Planes fly into the World Trade Center & The Pentagon
September 11, 2001 (afternoon): Congress sings “God Bless America.”
September 14, 2001: By a joint resolution vote of 518-1, your representatives pass Public Law 107-40 (Authorization To Use Military Force-VIDEO) which authorizes the individual who happens to be President to kill citizens of the United States.
September 18, 2001: President Bush signs the bill into law.
September 20, 2011: Anwar al-Awlaki becomes the first citizen of the United States to be assassinated by a President of the United States.
October 15, 2001: Abdulrahman Awlaki — 16, from Denver, accused of nothing — becomes the second citizen of the United States to be assassinated by a President of the United States.
October 25, 2011: The President of the United States goes on the Tonight Show, where he brags about the father, doesn’t mention the son, and — needless to say — Leno doesn’t ask.
JAY LENO: Can I ask you about taking out their top leadership, al-Awlaki, this guy, American-born terrorist? How important was he to al Qaeda?
THE PRESIDENT: We put so much pressure on al Qaeda in the Afghan/Pakistan region that their affiliates were actually becoming more of a threat to the United States. Awlaki was their head of external operations….we were able to remove him from the field. [VIDEO BELOW]
August 7, 2012 (yesterday): While campaigning in Ohio — a major league swing state — a local reporter asks the President about targeting citizens for death without trial. The President denies that he has ever publicly confirmed such prior assassinations.
BEN SWANN: The so-called presidential kill list that’s gotten a lot of attention — this list of folks who have been targeted for assassination — and on that list have been U.S. citizens who have not been afforded trial, including Anwar al-Awlaki. How do you, as President, or any president for that matter, regardless of party or person, utilize that power to assassinate even U.S. citizens?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, you’re basing this on reports in the news that have never been confirmed by me.
In June, Scott Pelley interviewed Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, who — echoing the plain language of the law — confirmed that it is the President who determines which citizens get a judge and jury and which citizens get a Hellfire Missile fired from a flying robot.
The clip (below) includes (i) the President under questioning yesterday in Ohio, (ii) the Secretary of Defense under questioning on 60 Minutes, and (iii) White House Secretary Jay Carney, under questioning by Jake Tapper of ABC News.
As I wrote yesterday, the foregoing law creates a conflict with the international law of war that caused the President to deploy Secretary of State Legal Advisor, Harold Koh to Uganda in June 1010, where Koh cajoled the International Criminal Court community into foregoing the adoption of a new crime called “act of aggression,” until January 2017 — the same month the President retires from politics.
As you watch these videos keep in mind that at the time of their incineration, neither Awlaki was on any battlefield, there was no imminent threat, and neither had been accused of killing anyone.
Young Awlaki has never been accused of anything.
The Supreme Court long ago ruled that citizens do not check their constitutional rights are the border. Period.
“At the beginning we reject the idea that when the United States acts against citizens abroad it can do so free of the Bill of Rights. The United States is entirely a creature of the Constitution.3 Its power and authority have no other source. It can only act in accordance with all the limitations imposed by the Constitution.4 When the Government reaches out to punish a citizen who is abroad, the shield which the Bill of Rights and other parts of the Constitution provide to protect his life and liberty should not be stripped away just because he happens to be in another land. This is not a novel concept. To the contrary, it is as old as government.” Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1 (1957)