That's the question two top constitutional attorneys, Herb Titus and William Olson, ask after reviewing the Obama administration's "whitewash of a 'white paper'."
Exercising a power that no prior president ever thought he possessed -- a power that no prior president is known to have exercised -- President Obama admitted that he ordered the execution of American citizens, not on a battlefield, based on his belief that they were involved in terrorist activities. It is known that at least three U.S. citizens, including a 16-year old boy, were killed on the president's order in drone strikes in Yemen in 2011.
The administration has stonewalled previous attempts to learn more about the targeted killings of American citizens. Nearly two years later, public attention is finally turned towards President Obama's "kill list" as the Senate confirmation hearings begin on John Brennan to head up the CIA.
Now we can see why the Department of Justice has been so reluctant to share the basis for its legal analysis. It is deeply flawed -- based on a perverse view of the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause. Additionally, the white paper completely ignores the procedural protections expressly provided in the Constitution's Third Article -- those specifically designed to prohibit the president from serving as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner.
Titus and Olson outline the white paper's three "requirements" the administration deems sufficient "due process" to order a targeted killing of an American citizen. They point out, there is no reason to presume these drone attacks won't eventually be carried out on American soil.
According to the white paper, there are only three requirements to order a killing. First, "an informed high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States." Second, capture is "infeasible." And third, the " operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with the applicable law of war principles." Indeed, from the white paper, it is not clear why killings of U.S. citizens on American soil would be judged by a different standard.
Read the rest at The American Thinker.