Monday, February 22, 2010

'Permission' needed to kill U.S. terrorists

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The U.S. intelligence community policy on killing American citizens who have joined al Qaeda requires first obtaining high-level government approval, a senior official disclosed to Congress on Wednesday.


Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said in each case a decision to use lethal force against a U.S. citizen must get special permission.


"We take direct actions against terrorists in the intelligence community," he said. "If we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that."


He also said there are criteria that must be met to authorize the killing of a U.S. citizen that include "whether that American is involved in a group that is trying to attack us, whether that American is a threat to other Americans. Those are the factors involved."

He added, "The reason I went this far in open session is I just don't want other Americans who are watching to think that we are careless about endangering … lives at all.
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