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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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @billmon1 Does hitting on a high school wrestler count as moral turpitude bc that's not allowed anymore.
emptywheel @ncweaver Also, one of most interesting things fr FISC docs: WHAT they were asking for fr Yahoo changed a lot bt 8/07 & 1/08 @SteveBellovin
emptywheel RT @WALLACHLEGAL: Other class claims brought against @FanDuel and @DraftKings incl. violation of consumer protection act, false advertising…
emptywheel @SteveBellovin Yahoo been fluctuating wildly (27K to 51K) since Snowden @ncweaver
emptywheel @SteveBellovin Hmm. I'm talking 2nd half 2014 data. Yahoo 42K, Google 15K @ncweaver
emptywheel @zmanian I think post-Safe Harbor reformers need to go after 12333 anyway. @ncweaver @SteveBellovin
emptywheel @ncweaver But while we're talking Yahoo, any idea what Yahoo would have 45K PRISM requests and Google 1/3 of that? @SteveBellovin
JimWhiteGNV You get to say no to being Speaker. And YOU get to say no to being speaker. Everyone gets to say no to being Speaker.
emptywheel @ncweaver Basically one more way a USP might get collected (US overseas under 12333 had already been argued at length) @SteveBellovin
emptywheel @ncweaver There was a weird allegedly late issue at FISCR could have been something like that, but I don't think that was it @SteveBellovin
emptywheel @grumpybozo Right. You ever seen Johnson and Courser in the same room at same time?
JimWhiteGNV It's a shame that DraftKings and FanDuel are in such a scandal. It just occurred to me that Pete Rose should be spox for one or both.
October 2011
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