Tuesday, June 29, 2010
This is disturbing.
In an interview with the Washington Times, Deputy White House National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, John O. Brennan says “dozens” of American citizens have been placed on an assassination list.
“There are, in my mind, dozens of U.S. persons who are in different parts of the world, and they are very concerning to us, not just because of the passport they hold, but because they understand our operational environment here, they bring with them certain skills, whether it be language skills or familiarity with potential targets, and they are very worrisome, and we are determined to take away their ability to assist with terrorist attacks. If an American person or citizen is in a Yemen or in a Pakistan or in Somalia or another place, and they are trying to carry out attacks against U.S. interests, they also will face the full brunt of a U.S. response.”
While on the surface, who would disagree with trying to off an American citizens acting against his or her country?
However, Salon’s Glenn Greenwald takes exception with Brennan’s words, writing:
“I’ve written at length about the reasons why targeting American citizens for assassination who are far away from a ‘battlefield’ is so odious and tyrannical, and I won’t repeat those arguments here. Suffice to say, and I’m asking this literally, if you’re someone who believes, or are at least willing to acquiesce to the claim, that the U.S. President has the power to target your fellow citizens for assassination without a whiff of due process, what unchecked presidential powers wouldn’t you support or acquiesce to?”
Anyone who doubts the Obama administration has adopted the core Terrorism policies of Bush/Cheney should listen to this concession — or boast, which Brennan himself made in this interview:
“There is considerable continuity between the counter terrorism policies of President Bush and President Obama. We are building upon some of the good foundational work that has been done.”
As Greenwald correctly asks and I agree, is it time yet to have a debate about whether we think President Obama should be able to exercise a power like this?