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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JimWhiteGNV RT @SIGARHQ: Quarterly Report to Congress: Opium Production Poses Threat to Afghan Reconstruction http://t.co/DOba8lCL8l
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bmaz @thedailybeast @DrJenGunter That tweet is a lie. No enforceable court ordered quarantine yet. There may be, but not yet. #FearOverFacts
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emptywheel RT @glynco: Abdel Hakim Belhaj wins right to day in court over his kidnap rendition and #torture by MI6 and CIA #RDI program http://t.co/9E
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emptywheel @Krhawkins5 I blame my Irish in-laws when Irish in O's White House, CIA fuck-up (cause otherwise they'd get diasporic joy) @joshgerstein
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emptywheel @Krhawkins5 This is White House where drone czar can be likened to a Jesuit. Here, nodding to SSCI on torture is also holy @joshgerstein
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bmaz @maassive Actually, AZ's FOI law is relatively broad and good. However, there is no set time+a few agencies like @marcoattorney abuse that.
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bmaz RT @SLeasca: Looks like @AP is selling its tweets again... https://t.co/yaOGFeSVJ0
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JimWhiteGNV US Military Suddenly Decides to Classify Its Analysis of Afghan Troop Capability https://t.co/4uj7S7N870
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JimWhiteGNV He was the best ever in WS! No question. RT @armandodkos: Alright I'm starting to get pissed on behalf of Bob Gibson.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @armandodkos: Bumgarner was awesome but the greatest World Series pitching performance was Bob Gibson 1967. 3 CG wins ERA of 1.
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bmaz RT @JeffreyToobin: RT @PaulBegala: Between innings, Madison Baumgarner is developing a vaccine for Ebola. #WorldSeriesGame7
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