Citizens of the United States are legitimate military targets when they take up arms with al-Qaida, top national security lawyers in the Administration of Barack Obama said Thursday.
Asked about the CIA murder of anti-American alleged terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki in September, Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson said only the executive branch, not the courts, is equipped to make military battlefield targeting decisions about who qualifies as an enemy. Administration lawyers also say that U.S. citizens do not have immunity when they are at war with the United States.
The Obama Administration lawyers’ remarks come as many Americans are already in panic over what is seen as an assault on personal liberty that Congress is attempting to add to the National Defense Authorization Act S.1867. The new provisions would allow the military to detain American citizens without due process of law and hold them indefinitely if they are perceived to be a threat.
Two new amendments that would attempt to halt the indefinite detention of American citizens on United States soil under a section of the National Defense Authorization Act have been introduced and could be voted on by the end of the day.