Top US senator urges release of Awlaqi memo

A picture released by SITE Intelligence Group
in 2010 shows a grab from a video lecture by
Anwar al-Awlaqi
© AFP/SITE/File

AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The White House should make public a secret US Justice Department memo authorizing the targeting of slain American-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi, a top Democratic senator urged Tuesday.

“I would urge them to release the memo. I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a key ally of President Barack Obama, told reporters.

The Washington Post reported Friday that senior Justice Department lawyers had crafted the memo after reviewing legal concerns about targeting a US national with deadly force.

The daily cited anonymous US officials as saying there was no dissent about the legality of doing so — but reported that the administration had decided not to make the document public.

Levin made clear he was not calling into question the decision to target Awlaqi, whom the Post said was killed in Yemen by a US drone strike conducted by the CIA and military assets under CIA control.

“I support the decision to do it. He has declared war on us, and in war you’re allowed to attack your enemy,” said Levin.

Critics have asked that the Obama administration publicly state its legal standards for killing outside the United States any terror suspect who is an American citizen, saying the practice would otherwise amount to extrajudicial execution in violation of US and international law.

© AFPPublished at Activist Post with license

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