Constitutional & Legal Issues


L - Z

McCutchen, Eric [CAPT/USAF]. "Kinetic Targeting of U.S. Citizens in the War on Terror: A Legal and Policy Perspective." American Intelligence Journal 28, no. 2 (2010): 72-82.

The author concludes: "The law of war justifies the Obama Administration's expanded use of drone strikes, including strikes on American al-Qaeda personnel."

Mooney, Alexander, Martina Stewart, and Rebecca Sinderbrand. "Reporter Alleges Secret 'Assassination Wing.'" CNN, 30 Mar. 2009. [http://www.cnn.com]

On 30 March 2009, New Yorker reporter Seymour Hersh told CNN that "[t]he Bush administration established a secret special operations unit unmonitored by Congress with authority to assassinate high-value targets in as many as a dozen countries.... Hersh said the group -- called the Joint Special Operations Command -- reported to Vice President Dick Cheney and was delegated authority to assassinate individuals based on their own intelligence." A JSOC spokesman "rejected Hersh's report, saying their forces operate under established rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict. He adds that the vice president has no command-and-control authorities over the U.S. military."

Nabati, Mikael F. "Anticipatory Self-Defense: The Terrorism Exception." Current History, May 2003, 222-231.

Parks, W. Hays. "Memorandum of Law: Executive Order 12333 and Assassination." Army Lawyer, Dec. 1989, 4-9.

Patterson, Eric, and Teresa Casale. "Targeting Terror: The Ethical and Practical Implications of Targeted Killing." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 18, no. 4 (Winter 2005-2006): 638-652.

"Targeted killing is often confused with assassination.... Politically motivated assassinations can and should be distinguished from the legitimate use of force directed against specific enemy combatants.... [I]t is both pragmatic and ethical to utilize killing of targeted enemies in the war on terror, while necesarily considering the potential and pitfalls of such a strategy."

Richelson, Jeffrey T. "When Kindness Fails: Assassination as a National Security Option." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 15, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 243-274.

"Assassination should not be used as attempted in the past -- as a foreign policy tool to eliminate troublesome foreign leaders.... Rather, it should be employed only ... in dealing with severe threats, for example, the heads of rogue states who are seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction (and whose employment of such weapons against the United States is all too plausible), those who are playing a key role in helping them attain such capabilities, and a variety of terrorists. In addition, there should be some reason to believe that a successful assassination ... will have a significant impact in alleviating the threat from the offending nation or terrorist group."

Risen, James. "Lawmakers See Need to Loosen Rules on C.I.A." New York Times, 16 Sep. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"The Congressional leaders who oversee the nation's intelligence system have concluded that America's spy agencies should be allowed to combat terrorism with more aggressive tactics, including the hiring of unsavory foreign agents. The [9/11] attacks ... also revived discussion of reversing the United States' 25-year ban on using covert agents to assassinate foreigners."

Risen, James, and David Johnston. "Bush Has Widened Authority of C.I.A. to Kill Terrorists." New York Times, 15 Dec. 2002. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"The Bush administration has prepared a list of terrorist leaders the Central Intelligence Agency is authorized to kill, if capture is impractical and civilian casualties can be minimized, senior military and intelligence officials said. The previously undisclosed C.I.A. list includes key Qaeda leaders like Osama bin Laden and his chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as other principal figures from Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, the officials said..... Despite the authority given to the agency, Mr. Bush has not waived the executive order banning assassinations, officials said. The presidential authority to kill terrorists defines operatives of Al Qaeda as enemy combatants and thus legitimate targets for lethal force."

Ross, Bruce A. "The Case for Targeting Leadership in War." Naval War College Review 46, no. 1 (1993): 73-93.

Schmitt, Michael N. "State-Sponsored Assassination in International and Domestic Law." Yale Journal of International Law 17 (1992): 609-685.

Shpiro, Shlomo. "Poisoned Chalice: Intelligence Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 22, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 1-30.

The author suveys the development and/or use of chemical and biological weapons by the Soviet Union/Russia, Britain, the United States, France, Israel, South Africa, and Iraq. He concludes that "the chemical and biological weapons used by intelligence services in political assassinations have proven to be operationally unstable and politically unacceptable."

Teplitz, Robert F. "Taking Assassination Attempts Seriously: Did the United States Violate International Law in Forcefully Responding to the Iraqi Plot to Kill George Bush?" Cornell International Law Journal 28 (Spring 1995): 569-617. [Calder]

Thomas, Ward. "Norms and Security: The Case of International Assassination." International Security 25, no. 1 (Summer 2000): 105-133.

Turner, Robert F. "Killing Saddam: Would It Be a Crime?" Washington Post, 7 Oct. 1990, D1-D2.

U.S. Congress. Senate. Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders. 94th Cong., 1st Sess., Sen. Rept. No. 94-465, 6 vols. Washington, DC: GPO, 1975.

Weiner, Tim. "Rethinking the Ban on Political Assassinations." New York Times, 30 Aug. 1998. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania serve as the occasion for the author to revisit the executive order banning the U.S. use of assassination. Nothing new on the subject is offered.

Wrage, Stephen. "Assassination by Remotely Piloted Vehicle." Strategic Insights 10, no. 2 (Summer 2011): 30-34. [http://www.nps.edu]

The author's baseline conclusion is that drone strikes targeted on individuals are "aligned ... with American norms" when they are conducted by the military but not when conducted by the CIA. The problem is that he has no idea of what "norms" are for the CIA drone operations. He also conflates CIA drone strikes against terrorists in Pakistan with the military's use of drones in Afghanistan. Transferring the CIA mission in Pakistan to the U.S. military, as Wrage suggests, is not something the military wants.

Zapp, Greg. "Former Attorney General [William P. Barr] Comments on Intelligence and Law Enforcement." Periscope 18, no. 6 (1993): 1.

This is a report on remarks by the last Attorney General in the Bush Administration and a CIA employee 1973-1977, at an AFIO luncheon 7 June 1993 at Fort Myers Officers' Club. "US involvement [in a coup attempt against Noriega], had Noriega been killed, would not have been legally considered assassination." In other remarks, Barr noted that "[s]ome of the difficulties that arise in the Intelligence Community's cooperation with the Department of Justice result from different mission requirements: the Intelligence Community needs to protect sources and methods while Law Enforcement needs to identify sources in order to prosecute.... In Mr. Barr's analysis, if Intelligence is to support Law Enforcement, American intelligence agencies will have to organize to improve dissemination."

Zengel, Patricia. "Assassination and the Law of Armed Conflict." Military Law Review 134 (1991): 123-135.

Calder: The author "concludes that there is no longer any convincing justification for retaining a unique rule of international law that treats assassination apart from other uses of force."

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