February 28, 2014, New York – In response to news that the Obama Administration is debating whether to authorize the killing of a U.S. citizen terrorism suspect in Pakistan, whose name, Abdullah al-Shami, was just reported, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:
The Obama administration is reportedly divided over whether the United States has the authority to carry out the premeditated killing of another U.S. citizen terrorism suspect abroad. We know unacceptably little about the standards and circumstances at issue, but what the administration has previously stated – albeit through anonymous leaks, summary speeches and a Cliffs Notes version of new policy guidance – outlines an authority that rests on novel, aggressive, and deeply controversial interpretations of constitutional and international law. Even so, the administration continues to attempt to characterize its positions as resting on familiar, traditional principles. It is dangerous and far from accepted to claim, as the administration does, that the field of battle in its armed conflict against Al Qaeda is worldwide, that imminent threats don’t require imminence, and that the final analysis about the legality of its killings is up to the same officials that authorize and sanction those killings.