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Obama Invokes “State Secrets” to Defend Assassination Program

HeadlineSep 27, 2010

The Obama administration has urged a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit challenging the administration’s assertion that it can assassinate US citizens anywhere in the world. Earlier this year the Obama administration authorized the CIA to capture or kill Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric who is believed to be in hiding in Yemen. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Constitutional Rights, al-Awlaki’s father asked a federal judge to issue an injunction and force the administration to publicly reveal its criteria for determining who can be assassinated. In court papers filed on Friday, the Obama administration asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims, citing state secrets. The ACLU and Center for Constitutional Rights criticized the Obama administration’s stance. In a statement, the groups said, “The idea that courts should have no role whatsoever in determining the criteria by which the executive branch can kill its own citizens is unacceptable in a democracy.”

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