WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama’s administration crafted a legal document in secret ahead of the assassination of US-born Al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaqi, which permitted the killing of an American citizen without trial, a report said Saturday.
The secret memorandum was written in 2010 to justify the action despite a legal framework that prevents the White House ordering assassinations, the US federal law against murder, and protections for US citizens contained in the Bill of Rights, said the New York Times, citing sources familiar with the memo.
The 50-page document, completed in June last year, said the killing could only be lawful if it was not feasible for him to be captured alive.
Awlaqi was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in late September, in a raid hailed by Obama as a “major blow” to the Al-Qaeda network. The killing did not only have to be justified over US laws, but also certain areas of the international laws of war.