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Al-Awlaki court documents released today: US cited controversial law in decision to kill American citizen by drone

Court documents reveal Obama administration cited law blessing global war against al-Qaida in killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.

Lawyers for the Obama administration, arguing for their ability to kill an American citizen without trial in Yemen, contended that the protection of US citizenship was effectively removed by a key congressional act that blessed a global war against al-Qaida.

Known as the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), the broad and controversial 2001 law played a major role in the legal decision to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, the former al-Qaida propagandist and US citizen, in 2011, according to a redacted memorandum made public on Monday.

"We believe that the AUMF's authority to use lethal force abroad also may apply in appropriate circumstances to a United States citizen who is part of the forces of an enemy authorization within the scope of the force authorization," reads the Justice Department memorandum, written for attorney general Eric Holder on 16 July 2010 and ostensibly intended strictly for Awlaki's case.

Among those circumstances: "Where high-level government officials have determined that a capture operation is infeasible and that the targeted person is part of a dangerous enemy force and is engaged in activities that pose a continued and imminent threat to US persons or interests."

MORE|SOURCE:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/23/us-justificatio...