Obama Administration: Yes, We Can Kill Americans on US Soil

John Glaser, March 05, 2013

Obama chair

The controversy, arising out of the drone war, that President Obama has the authority to assassinate US citizens abroad in non-war zones just got even more disgraceful.

The Obama administration’s Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter in response to persistent inquiries from Senator Rand Paul, who vowed to block the confirmation of John Brennan to CIA chief if the White House didn’t respond. In the letter, Holder maintains that the President does have the authority to kill US citizens on US soil without any due process.

“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,” Holder wrote.

Holder’s caveat is that this scenario is “entirely hypothetical” because “the US government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so.” Furthermore, “as a policy matter…we reject the use of military force where well-established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat.”

Still, the concluding legal opinion represents a radical betrayal of constitutional limits imposed on the state for depriving citizens of life, liberty and property. Officially now, Obama’s kingly authority to play Judge, Jury, and Executioner and deprive Americans of their life without due process of law applies not only to Americans abroad but to citizens that are inside the United States.

“The US Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening – it is an affront the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans,” Sen. Paul said in a statement.

Holder, along with the Obama administration, is making it seem as if the President’s use of lethal force, as in the drone war, would only be used in circumstances like another impending 9/11 attack or something. Only when an attack is imminent.

But that categorical limitation on the President’s authority to kill depends upon their definition of “imminence,” which we learned from a leaked Justice Department white paper last month, is extremely broad.

The memo refers to what it calls a “broader concept of imminence” than what has traditionally been required, like actual intelligence of an ongoing plot against the US.

“The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states, contradicting conventional international law.

Instead, so long as an “informed, high-level” US official claims the targeted American has been “recently” involved in “activities” that pose a threat and “there is  no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities,” then the President can order his assassination. The memo does not define “recently” or “activities.”

Holder also insists that in the case of such “extraordinary circumstances,” like another impending 9/11, he “would examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the president of the scope of his authority.”

Boy, do I feel comforted.




73 Responses to “Obama Administration: Yes, We Can Kill Americans on US Soil”

  1. What did D(r)o(r)ner say? "I am your exigent circumstance." I am sure that the first time anyone uses this technique within the US to avoid that tiresome due process of law, they will cite D(r)o(r)ner as their "Extraordinary Circumstance."

    O what a tangled web we weave.

  2. Holder's statement that “…as a policy matter…we reject the use of military force where well-established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat” is meaningless and probably a bit snide when he is well aware that our "well-established law enforcement authorities" are themselves militarized to the hilt and are a "military force" in all but name.

  3. Another of our constitutional rights taken away by the Obama administration, they can justify using this without giving a citizen due process under the constitution…….

  4. [...] Antiwar.com (blog)Obama Administration: Yes, We Can Kill Americans on US SoilAntiwar.com (blog)The controversy, arising out of the drone war, that Source: Google News [...]

  5. [...] Antiwar.com (blog) [...]

  6. [...] asked various administration …Killing American Citizens on American Soil, Take 2Mother JonesObama Administration: Yes, We Can Kill Americans on US SoilAntiwar.com (blog)all 20 news [...]

  7. otay. how do like me now? says this American! there seems to be more “citizens” saying that as long as they are making whores they can get away with it. terrorist are terrorist whether they are forcing people into prostitution or bombing buildings!

  8. We got four years of this, whether we like it or not. We might as well be mature about it and not whine (general statement!) like children. I always pray for the best, and hey, look at the bright side. Venezuela’s president died today, at least we have one less to worry about.

  9. Sheriff Buford Pusser while showing the jury his scars in the movie Walking Tall "If you let them do this to me and get away with it, THEN YOU'RE GIVING THEM THE ETERNAL RIGHT TO DO THE SAME DAMN THING TO ANY ONE OF YOU !

  10. The American people are brain dead.

  11. The Right to Life, one of the three Rights Thomas Jefferson named in the Declaration of Independence (the other two being Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness), is an unalienable Right that NO government can either grant or take away. Only God has that right.

    A.G. Holder and President Obama can bluster all they want about murdering US citizens without due process; but that doesn't change anything, only makes them mass murderers subject to prosecution, and, perhaps, the death penalty.

  12. Cops in this country have been trusted by most of the citizens to make decisions to take life with the benefit of a trial, judge or jury. If we are going to be protected from terrorists in this country (remember nine eleven) it does not matter to me one whit where that terrorist comes from…….if my next door neighbor is about to help or actually kill other Americans……then I hope to God that some one from my government blows him/her away……..unlike what they did during nine eleven when they sat on their hands. No one and I mean no one was ever held accountable for the horrendous failings by our government servants who allowed the tragedies on nine eleven to happen. This time around it has to be different, other wise we might as well just invite the terrorists to run this country……when pukes like those here complain about their rights being taken it makes me wish that if we are more attentive next time (and there will be a next time) well, I hope those complaining will be on the next set of planes instead of citizens who realize that there are such things as exigent circumstances.

  13. America is dead and finished and not worth defending or protecting.

  14. Note also that "incapacitate" is not the same as "arrest."

  15. I am an old man. Since the 1970s, I have been politically involved as a libertarian. I've spent forty years trying to tell people that this was coming, but the electorate has continuously voted for the statist of both major parties. They all want to control this or that. If you deny others their right. sooner or later you will also lose your right to do the things you want. It is nearly hopeless now. It is your problem now. I will not be around to see the horror that this nation will become.

  16. Democracy.., what democracy…, justice.., what justice.., we just want your vote.., that's all….! If you don't follow we have lots of other options to govern your life.., killing you is one of them.

  17. One more Civil War is looming over the United States, this time against the monsters willing to kill anyone who stands in their way to corporate nirvana. Hollywood will love the grand stories the future is about to spawn!

  18. Could not have said it any better!

  19. [...] AG Holder: We Can Kill Americans on US Soil [...]

  20. This commercial brought you by SHUT THE **** UP.

  21. I don,t mind if americans are killed through drones on their soil but not other soil and nations as americans are free to kill their people for Israelis.

  22. What the hell happened to our country?

    I am not sure but I think it's Israelification has done this to us

  23. JUST IN TIME for the 20-year anniversary of the BRANCH DAVIDIAN "OOPS SO SORRY" OVERKILL

  24. [...] John Glaser notes: [...]

  25. [...] John Glaser notes: [...]

  26. Joe Ed was right on with his “Israelification” quip. Israel as Ari Sharon said thoroughly controls the US Govn’t. Therefore if you want International protection for Israel committing 60 Yrs.of assorted war crimes and crimes against humanity the best protection is to get that number one military power that you control committing the same crimes,that takes the attention away from Israel and if the world doesn't’t like it ,what can they do about it .Nothing. But we,the US citizens, lose our rights as well as our souls.

  27. [...] John Glaser notes: [...]

  28. [...] John Glaser notes: [...]

  29. [...] John Glaser notes: [...]

  30. Wake up y'all we get the government we deserve.
    Things r gonna get much worse.
    The presidency of Obama will look saintly 10 years from now.
    And we deserve everything we get.
    Why?
    Because we stood by and let it happen.
    Hell, most of us rooted for it while it was happening.
    So stfu and recognize the sublime justice of all that is happening.
    We get to live under the same torment weve influcted to other people obroad.
    Its hilarious.

  31. [...] John Glaser notes: [...]

  32. "…appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States…."

    Holder should be thrown out of office for not knowing about the POSSE COMITATUS ACT. We have police forces and due process to handle any threatening situation.

  33. It seems you are right. Why is Israel the only "nation" of importance in the world?

  34. I have no doubt that the founding fathers would view just the fact that they even make this claim as an impeachable offense.

  35. Not really. Talk to most people, and you won't find much support for this. To me, its very similar to before the fall of the Soviet Union. Everyone knows that things have gone badly wrong. Just few if any know what to do about it. So they stay quiet and out of trouble. But, in the Soviet Union, as soon as a chance for change emerged, there were millions of people in the streets demanding change. In the US, Obama put a fake-change sign on his campaign and 2008 and the American people responded strongly. The same with the response the Occupy movement originally got before it was subverted and crushed. To me, it feels like a very dry brushland that any spark could easily set ablaze

  36. Obama is a tyrant and has far surpassed Bush in repression. Mr Fast and Furious" Eric Holder has turned out to be far worse than John Ashcroft or Roberto Gonzales. Impeachment is more than warranted with a prison sentence to a drop the soap institution. I know it will not happen. We are past the point in presidential power where Obama can be constitutionally challenged by Congress even if Congress was willing. All of our governmental institutions are failing us. The system will never reform itself. "If peaceful change is impossible, violent change is inevitable" JFK

  37. In the last election, there were multiple candidates on the ballot that would not have supported this policy, and who would have embarked on our own journey of Glasnost and Peristroika. According to the vote counting computers, they got less than 3% of the vote. And, since I know very few people who joined me in voting for them, I can't really say those computer generated numbers were wrong.

    This would appear to not only be the government that the American people deserves, but also the government that the American people desires. Then again, Hitler was very popular until everything crashed down around him. Then you got to see and hear millions of Germans saying they didn't support him and that they had know idea what was happening at the camp outside of town that smelled like death.

  38. The legal case is built upon the Dubya/Obama fiction that we are at war. After all, no one doubts that the President and the military would have the legal right to use military force to fight off an armed invader, such as in the War of 1812. What's absurd is this notion that we are at war with some vague and ill-defined and ever-changing group of 'terrorists', and that as such now the President now claims the authority of a tyrant that he can call anyone a 'terrorist' and say we are at war with them and thus kill them.

  39. [...] John Glaser notes: [...]

  40. However this is the people that support drones (99%).

  41. Except that it is more believable hearing a 1940 German say that he didn't know what was going on than a 21 century North American who has all the information tools at his disposal. The worst part is that they don't care.

  42. Glad to see that the govt is prepared to take extreme action to prevent another 9/11.So, the next time we have a covert ops false flag attack planned by govt agents, they will take themselves out with a drone strike, right? Or perhaps it will be another sort of "domestic terrorism" they have in mind, such as non-violent protestors against governmental collusion with corporate/bankster criminal conspiracies. The "patriot" act defines civil disobedience intended to "coerce" the government as domestic terrorism, and of course the government has no problem using agent provocateurs to commit the desired acts of vandalism, arson, and violence at otherwise non-violent protests. Ah, what a Brave New paragon of Democracy we have become!

  43. Furthermore, if we ever contemplate a revolution, let alone try to organize one, Obama the tyrant
    would drone us because we would be the "new ingrown terrorists". The Obama administration is no
    different from the Assad regime, the pariah state of Israel, to name a few. This is no democracy.

  44. The ideal of innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, adjudged so by a jury of your peers is gone.
    The reality is that the corporatists and their reactionary standards have effectively committed a coup d' etat. We are now under obligation to a government that obeys no laws and makes its own rules of conduct with regards to its citizens.

    A new Constitutional Congress must be called, a new Constitution must be agreed upon or as it now stands we have doomed this nation to fascism and an authoritarian regime of the worst kind. Along with the authoritarian regime we will endure a generation of anarchy. No longer will this action function as a democracy but we will flounder in an atmosphere of violent retribution for disagreeing with the authorities.

  45. It is comming ever so closer, REVOLUTION!
    When the people see they are no longer free, and are slaves to the empire, there will be only one course of action, that is to fight for your freedom.

  46. Well you are killing everybody else in the World So why not a few Americans too?

  47. [...] far abstaining from using a power it already has as a current “policy” decision. – John Glaser notes: – The concluding legal opinion represents a radical betrayal of constitutional limits imposed on [...]

  48. [...] Attorney General Holder: We Can Kill Americans on US Soil [...]

  49. [...] Glaser notes: The concluding legal opinion represents a radical betrayal of constitutional limits imposed on the [...]

  50. The Constitution is just a piece of paper as far as the US government is concerned.

  51. This should come as no big surprise – the American Government has always killed its own people -( big time) in 1861-1865, Wounded Knee, Kent State, Move On, etc., whenever individuals act too independently.
    Don't get fooled once more – Rand Paul does not really care about individual freedom, he is just trying to get the bad taste of capitulation out of everyone's mouth plus he gets to blame Obama for something that the Republicans would do also in a New York second as soon as they get back into power.

  52. we've finally finally hit rock bottom as a society. To announce that you can murder citizens without due process is the ultimate in betrayal to the people, to ones values and principles, to due process, to rule of law, to the constitution and to ones idea of a diety or higher thought. F*** the united states of mordor where now its not silly,cliche,or exaggerating to say that america is now EVIL, it is simply fact…

  53. [...] John Glaser notes: [...]

  54. "The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and participatory to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether nazi or communist." Winston Churchill

    We deny the constitutional right to due process and now it's official we deny you your life by E/O which would make america a tyranny on steroids…

  55. [...] John Glaser notes: [...]

  56. Well you would be.

  57. Only become evil just now? Ask the people of Nicaragua who revolted when there was no other option. Ask – millions of people around the world – and they will tell you it's not a recent thing!

  58. [...] I and the rest of American were entranced by the Phantom Klantom at Oberlin College this week, Antiwar.com was on the job, and since Tuesday has been tracking Attorney General Eric Holder’s [...]

  59. [...] Attorney General Holder: We Can Kill Americans on US Soil [...]

  60. [...] wrote about the Obama administration’s war of choice in Afghanistan, their claimed power to kill US citizens, and their mischievous strategy in [...]

  61. My Mom Said I would like this blog she was right you are a nice person and you write well

  62. I can't believe this whole topic is up for discussion. Have I gone to sleep and this is just some kind of totalitarian nightmare? I keep pinching myself REAL HARD, I I can't seem to wake from this nightmare.

  63. [...] Hellbound Drones Boomerang–We Can Blow You Up in the USA–Holder (White House, “No We can’t, or maybe or–what’s that up in the air????) The controversy, arising out of the drone war, that President Obama has the authority to assassinate US citizens abroad in non-war zones just got even more disgraceful. The Obama administration’s Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter in response to persistent inquiries from Senator Rand Paul, who vowed to block the confirmation of John Brennan to CIA chief if the White House didn’t respond. In the letter, Holder maintains that the President does have the authority to kill US citizens on US soil without any due process. “It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,” Holder wrote. http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/03/05/obama-administration-yes-we-can-kill-americans-on-us-soil/ [...]

  64. [...] Obama Administration: Yes, We Can Kill Americans on US Soil (antiwar.com) [...]

  65. Stunning story. Thanks!

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  67. Now that is just stupid

  68. Why most you kill a human being that God create

  69. Government should fight against war

  70. That seems teriffy could it be true, yes we are talking of the Americans here. I'm from Nigeria but I spent all my life in the white house. Let us be united

  71. you may be around–just like those that say the the national debt is problem for future generations when it is this year or next for both to blow up in our faces

  72. Glad to see people see baby Bush a ssetting this in motion with 9//1 like Bryz. called for as a "new Pearl harbor" to stampede us into submission..so many still think it is a Dem-R partisan issue and that only the R's are controlled by the super-rich

  73. Any President (and/or Government representative)that omits "Due Process of Law" and/or engages in starting or partakes in initiating any manner of war on US soil should be found guilty of Treason!