A drone strike could have saved Obama the trouble of those embarrassing Hutaree acquittals.
The NY Times gets around to covering exactly why Rand Paul’s filibuster and Cruz’s grilling of Holder over droning US citizens in a café was spot on:
“Then, on Oct. 14, a missile apparently intended for an Egyptian Qaeda operative, Ibrahim al-Banna, hit a modest outdoor eating place in Shabwa. The intelligence was bad: Mr. Banna was not there, and among about a dozen men killed was the young Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who had no connection to terrorism and would never have been deliberately targeted.
“It was a tragic error and, for the Obama administration, a public relations disaster, further muddying the moral clarity of the previous strike on his father and fueling skepticism about American assertions of drones surgical precision.”
Of course, NY Times give no credence to Cruz and Paul.
Meanwhile NY Times received briefings from national security officials no the contents of the secret drone-killing authorization memos and acts as an Obama-Admin excuse-making media channel by uncritically rebutting claims of hypocrisy compared to the Bush “Unitary Executive” theory:
“As they researched the rarely invoked overseas-murder statute, Mr. Barron and Mr. Lederman discovered a 1997 district court decision involving a woman who was charged with killing her child in Japan. A judge ruled that the terse overseas-killing law must be interpreted as incorporating the exceptions of its domestic-murder counterpart, writing, Congress did not intend to criminalize justifiable or excusable killings.
“And by arguing that it is not unlawful murder when the government kills an enemy leader in war or national self-defense, Mr. Barron and Mr. Lederman concluded that the foreign-killing statute would not impede a strike. They had not resorted to the Bush-style theories they had once denounced of sweeping presidential war powers to disregard Congressionally imposed limitations.
“Due to return to academia in the fall of 2010, the two lawyers finished their second Awlaki memorandum, whose reasoning was widely approved by other administration lawyers, that summer. It had ballooned to about 63 pages but remained narrowly tailored to Mr. Awlakis circumstances, blessing lethal force against him without addressing whether it would also be permissible to kill citizens, like low-ranking members of Al Qaeda, in other situations.
“Nearly three years later, a version of the legal analysis portions would become public in the white paper, which stripped out all references to Mr. Awlaki while retaining echoes, like its discussion of a generic senior operational leader. Divorced from its original context and misunderstood as a general statement about the scope and limits of the governments authority to kill citizens, the free-floating reasoning would lead to widespread confusion.”