House Hears Testimony On Government’s Targeted Killing Program

WASHINGTON—(ENEWSPF)—April 28, 2010. The National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing today to discuss the legal issues involved in the government’s targeted killing program, including the use of unmanned weapon systems, or drones, for the targeted killing of individuals. The Obama administration has reportedly authorized the targeted killing of individuals, including a U.S. citizen, outside of the armed conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the border regions of Pakistan.

Based on reports about the scope of the program, the American Civil Liberties Union has taken the position that the administration’s program of targeted killing outside of armed conflict zones is unlawful.

The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“Any program that gives our executive officials authority to hunt and kill U.S. citizens and others far from any battlefield, without charge or trial and without any guarantee that lethal force is used only as a genuine last resort against imminent threats, must be rejected. A targeted killing program conducted in secret, without checks and balances, will invite abuse and potentially result in errors. Over the last decade, we have seen the government repeatedly detain men as terrorists, only to discover later that the evidence against them did not justify their detention. These types of mistakes are obviously more serious when the consequence is death.”

The following can be attributed to Christopher Anders, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel:

“Congress cannot sit back and allow the executive branch to say ‘trust us’ when it comes to putting U.S. citizens and others on kill lists. There must be accountability and the administration must provide the American public with information about its targeted killing program. The targeted killing program represents a fundamental shift in how the United States uses lethal force, with enormous consequences for the future. It should not be met with silence or acquiescence.”