Can the President Order a Killing on U.S. Soil?

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. Exclusive: Can the President Order a Killing on U.S. Soil?
    Newsweek

    Feb. 13, 2006 issue - In the latest twist in the debate over presidential powers, a Justice Department official suggested that in certain circumstances, the president might have the power to order the killing of terrorist suspects inside the United States. Steven Bradbury, acting head of the department's Office of Legal Counsel, went to a closed-door Senate intelligence committee meeting last week to defend President George W. Bush's surveillance program. During the briefing, said administration and Capitol Hill officials (who declined to be identified because the session was private), California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Bradbury questions about the extent of presidential powers to fight Al Qaeda; could Bush, for instance, order the killing of a Qaeda suspect known to be on U.S. soil? Bradbury replied that he believed Bush could indeed do this, at least in certain circumstances.

    Current and former government officials said they could think of several scenarios in which a president might consider ordering the killing of a terror suspect inside the United States. One former official noted that before Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, top administration officials weighed shooting down the aircraft if it got too close to Washington, D.C. What if the president had strong evidence that a Qaeda suspect was holed up with a dirty bomb and was about to attack? University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein says the post-9/11 congressional resolution authorizing the use of military force against Al Qaeda empowered the president to kill 9/11 perpetrators, or people who assisted their plot, whether they were overseas or inside the United States. On the other hand, Sunstein says, the president would be on less solid legal ground were he to order the killing of a terror suspect in the United States who was not actively preparing an attack.

    A Justice Department official, who asked not to be ID'd because of the sensitive subject, said Bradbury's remarks were made during an "academic discussion" of theoretical contingencies. In real life, the official said, the highest priority of those hunting a terrorist on U.S. soil would be to capture that person alive and interrogate him. At a public intel-committee hearing, Feinstein was told by intel czar John Negroponte and FBI chief Robert Mueller that they were unaware of any case in which a U.S. agency was authorized to kill a Qaeda-linked person on U.S. soil. Tasia Scolinos, a Justice Department spokeswoman, told NEWSWEEK: "Mr. Bradbury's meeting was an informal, off-the-record briefing about the legal analysis behind the president's terrorist-surveillance program. He was not presenting the legal views of the Justice Department on hypothetical scenarios outside of the terrorist-surveillance program."
     
  2. Arnie

    Arnie

    Well, of course hew should be able to do this.

    Current and former government officials said they could think of several scenarios in which a president might consider ordering the killing of a terror suspect inside the United States. One former official noted that before Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, top administration officials weighed shooting down the aircraft if it got too close to Washington, D.C. What if the president had strong evidence that a Qaeda suspect was holed up with a dirty bomb and was about to attack? University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein says the post-9/11 congressional resolution authorizing the use of military force against Al Qaeda empowered the president to kill 9/11 perpetrators, or people who assisted their plot, whether they were overseas or inside the United States. On the other hand, Sunstein says, the president would be on less solid legal ground were he to order the killing of a terror suspect in the United States who was not actively preparing an attack.
     
  3. Yes, during commission of a crime, sure. Although, it would be preferable not to kill them if possible, so that they could be processed though the justice system. One would think we would rather capture terrorists in the hope of getting information from them of other terrorists or active terrorist plots, rather than kill them with no hope of such information.

    The issue is whether such assassination could be done legally where there is no evidence of crime, and no evidence of a direct planning of a terrorist crime.....just rumor and innuendo....you know, the type of "intelligence" that leads people to think there are active WMD in Iraq just waiting to be delivered to our shores.

    Also note, that the power was given to those who participated in the act of 9/11, not some potential act in the future.

     
  4. Arnie

    Arnie

    What the hell are you talking about? I didn't see anything in the article suggesting.....

    "The issue is whether such assassination could be done legally where there is no evidence of crime"

    Where did that come from? Maybe you should read what you posted.
     
  5. In a broad sense, the power of the president to order killing on American soil is the power of assassination.

    The danger is that someone who is accused of being a terrorist, with no evidence to support that claim, no ties to the 9/11 attack, could be killed and then justified by the Patriot Act or other legislation that was specific in nature, but interpreted too broadly.


     
  6. Arnie

    Arnie

    Well, that's true just like I might get hit by a car crossing the street, but the article you posted is clearly talking about terror suspect's in the context of a post 911 world. At some point you have to trust people to do the right thing (i.e. not kill innocent people).

    Let me ask you, do you think the president should be prevented from ordering an assassination (or murder, if you prefer) in all cases?
     
  7. Bush has not earned my trust.

    I don't favor assassination as a practice for the president alone to determine, however as I don't view the world as black and white, there will nearly always be execptions to most any rule.

     
  8. Arnie

    Arnie

    I agree.