The Death of Due Process

Add this to the ever-growing stack of “if Bush had done it, the Left would be freaking out” stories.

President Obama’s Justice Department – the engineers of Fast and Furious – has a 16-page confidential memo that leaked out to the news media.  Of course, leaks in the Obama administration are nothing new, and it’s a good thing that this memo went public.Predator

The memo in question includes the Justice Department’s legal justification for using remote drones to kill US citizens.

The Left was up in arms when they thought George W. Bush might be listening to their phone calls.  We have consistently been treated to leftists freaking out over the possibility that some terrorist may have been slightly over-exposed to H2O.

But now the United States government is taking it to an entirely new level.  The Justice Department memo lays out 3 criteria that must be met in order to justify a drone strike on a US citizen “who is a senior operational leader of al-Qa’ida or an associated force”:

  1. An informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.
  2. Capture is infeasible, and the United States continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible.
  3. The operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles.

The Justice Department paper is a bit fuzzy on several points: for starters, what constitutes “informed?”  How high-level is “high-level?”  How is this impacted by the fact that an Australian general was just appointed to a high-ranking post in the US Army’s Pacific Command?

But I think the one thing that makes this memo all the more chilling is the fact that one of the senior operational leaders of the Justice Department – Janet Napolitano – released a memo just a couple of years ago that attempted to brand Tea Party activists, soldiers returning from war, and anti-abortion activists as potential domestic terrorists.  Couple this with the Administration’s push toward disarming law-abiding American gun owners -many of whom lean toward the conservative side of the political spectrum, and the implications here are dire.

Honestly, taken by itself, this memo is no big deal.  It makes sense that the Justice Department is covering its bases when it comes to ensuring that they can legally take actions against Americans who have joined up with our terrorist enemies.  But the question of the legality of the United States government killing American citizens without due process should always be considered very seriously…especially when an extremely partisan president who is in charge of an extremely partisan administration that has attempted to classify their political opponents as domestic terrorists is the one in charge of the kill list.

We went through a huge controversy not that long ago when President Bush was using indefinite detainment, water-boarding, and warrantless wiretapping.  Now not only do we still have those little gems, but some “high-level” bureaucrat can rain down fire on US citizens from 50,000 feet, as long as he is informed.

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