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Tue, 24 Jun 2014 09:56:10 +0000
(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration said assassinations of Americans overseas are justified when they are deemed as part of an organization determined to do harm to the homeland.
The claim was made in a document released Monday that described a September 2011 fatal drone strike in Yemen against U.S.-born firebrand cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who had joined al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Awlaki was accused of helping to plot various attacks against U.S. interests, including a failed car bombing in New York City's Times Square in May 2011.
According to a memo written a year-and-half before the attack that killed Awlaki, then-Acting Assistant Attorney General David Barron wrote that "the U.S. citizen in question has gone overseas and become part of the forces of an enemy with which the United States is engaged in an armed conflict."
Much of the document contained redactions in order to protect national security.
The ACLU, which sued to get the document released, said it "represents an overdue but nonetheless crucial step towards transparency." The ACLU added, "There are few questions more important than the question of when the government has the authority to kill its own citizens."
The New York Times was also part of the lawsuit in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.
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