The Gang of Four Doesn’t Have Access to the Kill List

Particularly given the questions bmaz raised the other day, I wanted to point to something Dutch Ruppersberger, the Democratic Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, had to say the other day. As part of the assurance he offered that the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki was legal, he admitted he doesn’t know whether Samir Khan, the other American citizen killed, was on the government’s kill list, because he doesn’t have access to the list.

Ruppersberger said al-Awlaki was on a special list of individuals that have attempted to attack the United States and are a severe threat to U.S. citizens.

“There’s a process that goes through the National Security Council, and then after that it goes to the president, and then the president then indicates that these individuals are on this list, and as a result of that process we followed it’s legal,” Ruppersberger said. “It’s legitimate, and we’re taking out someone who has attempted to attack us on numerous occasions, and he was on that list. It was pursuant to a process.”

Ruppersberger said he didn’t know if Khan was on the list.

“But Khan was a collateral damage issue here, and I don’t know because I don’t really have access to that list,” Ruppersberger said.

The Gang of Four (or possibly the full Eight, though only the Four have made comments about the killing) is presumably the only review anyone outside of the Executive Branch gives of its decisions to target people, including American citizens, for killing.

But if the Gang of Four doesn’t have access to the kill list, then the only opportunity they’ll have to review the government’s case that the target is indeed a legal target will come at a time when the government already has the person in their sights, presumably with a great deal of time sensitivity.

Yet another reason why this process is inadequate.

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25 Responses to The Gang of Four Doesn’t Have Access to the Kill List

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @ddayen Rumsfeldesque
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emptywheel @jefffreyspies Right. And yet no one is doing the "here's how the press reported on major threat for 10 years and Congress ignored it"
8mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @emptywheel Were you hacked by 20 Committee?
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emptywheel @doryphorus They're making baby steps, but I'd be interested in horse race story abt how politics ignored until white people died in big #s
21mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @farlanewastaken Our politics (esp GOP POTUS) has been a reality show for at least 9 years. One more summer will kill us all of a sudden?
23mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Is it me or does reporting on opium epidemic never get credited back to journos who did earliest work on it?
25mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @ErrataRob I think "everyone" overstates this. Set of people obsessed about this is relatively small.
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emptywheel @PaddyJ1325 Classroom furniture was American made back then. Now the Chinese prolly make it nuke-and-hack vulnerable.
33mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @PaddyJ1325 Yup, posted that earlier. Now it has me wondering where they found an integrated elementary school in 1951.
35mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV So far, the only potential good I could see in a Trump presidency is that it would put impeachment back in the arsenal for Democrats.
46mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @SenSanders: It's unacceptable that nearly 47 million Americans and 21% of kids are currently living below the poverty line.
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