White House: Secret Panel Can Order Americans Assassinated

Officials Say Process Will Remain a Secret

In comments made through the media today, a number of top Obama Administration officials, including White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, confirmed that there is a “secret panel” which exists now that can order American citizens assassinated with no judicial oversight.

Vietor declined to give any information related to the process of how the panel decides who lives and who dies, but officials say as far as they know cleric Anwar Awlaki was the only American they have ordered executed yet.

The only thing officials would say about the assassination process was that the president’s death panel was a “subset” of the National Security Council and that there is no existing legislation governing its operation.

The notion of a supreme panel of life and death which operates outside of the law is making a number of Americans uneasy, and has raised concerns that the president could move beyond religious leaders to target members of the media critical of his policies.  As with the many other policies of the Obama Administration it does not appear likely to change anything.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • JLS

    "In comments made through the media today, a number of top Obama Administration officials, including White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, confirmed that there is a “secret panel” which exists now that can order American citizens assassinated with no judicial oversight."

    Oh come on, what could possibly go wrong?

  • MoT

    Holy crap! If you aren't hollering at your "representatives" to hog tie these swine, and damn quick, you haven't anyone but yourself to blame and no reason to whine come the day they hunt for you or someone you care about.

  • skulz fontaine

    Damn, I remember when people thought Richard Nixon was bad. "Secret panel?" WTF??? How is this constitutional?

    • JLS

      hahaha, the same way going to war without a declaration of war from the congress is constitutional. The same way an income tax is constitutional. The same way assigning everyone a number at birth, keeping track of us our whole lives, and forcing us into a government mandated retirement plan is constitutional. If you give the government an inch they'll take a mile. Slippery slope proves correct in this case.

    • Oswaldwasalefty

      Because Augustus Obama said it is constitutional. Hey, Augustus doesn't rule by decree without getting the advice of some Wise Men first.

  • thelion

    No legislation to allow such activities, hell there is a constitution that specifically disallows such activities. Just remember that this is a Bush Wish program that has been carried over!

  • MvGuy

    W0W…… &……….. OOOOOOOOOO Sarah Pailin was RIGHT, about those Death Panels…… Just not quite accurate about how they would werk…. and for WHOM…!!!

  • curmudgeonvt

    The Star Chamber in action. Never thought I'd see the day when something like that would exist AND be acknowledged – in the light of day. Truly, no one is safe if this is allowed to continue to exist. And why the hell didn't whomever the White House spokesman was confirming to ask him WHO was on this extralegal "secret panel?" And the Senate Judiciary should be writing up charges and the House setting up for Impeachment.

  • Ken

    So the right was right after all. Obamacare does include death panels. Obammie must be making George Bush green with envy.

    • Oswaldwasalefty

      Ah, apples and oranges. This is "national security" policy, not health care. Is there a single right wing reactionary who doesn't love this? They probably can't wait to get Perry or some other reactionary they support to take over the reigns of this Death Panel.

      • mortepa

        Yeah, there IS a republican running for office that doesn't like this! Ron Paul, the last hope for America!

        RON PAUL 2012!!!

  • Mirror2 on the wall

    Talking about champion of human right and complainning about communist china !

  • O'Brien

    For your treasonous comments decrying the extra-legal executive actions of The One, all of you have been added to the secret terminal resolution list.

    Where's your precious Constitution now?

  • Amir Goy

    Let's not kid ourselves shall we? Assassination of fellow 'merikans has been in the playbook for quite some time. They've just made it something to cheer about now….

  • bob35983

    The murdering in the future need not be messy. Some aspects of what is yet to come is not too difficult to visualize. Examples abound if we care to stop & look. The TSA airport experiences should be a bell ringing alarm by itself. There are reports of some Americans being denied firearms purchases because they are on a "list". Extend this sort of reasoning into the field of gov't-run health care & you have people denied care because they, too, are on a "list"; and why should they get health care? Why should the taxpayer squander money on health care for a 'terrorist' or a 'drug abuser (since naturally all using the system will be pre-screened for "illegal" drugs) or someone who doesn't "support the troops" or attend the approved kind of church?

    Hell, why should someone on "the list" even be allowed to purchase food?

    • Strider55

      You left out the ultimate outcast list — the "racist list." Anyone who didn't vote for Obama is by definition a racist — Rachel MadCow, Chris Matthews, et al. have so decreed. Are you really sure you want that voting machine to spit out a paper record of who you voted for? ("Your voting papers, please.")

    • MoT

      A "thought crime" list or a "conceal carry" list? Anyone with any sense can see how they cross reference any and all activity into a profile: the master list. People howled that Big Brother under the Bushling had a computer system to examine everyone and they thought it was done away with. Not at all. The Hydra simple grew two heads for every one that we imagined went away. And even the first was simply renamed.

  • paulBass

    i can imagine who ever it is that sits on this "panel" having a nice chuckle when they saw all the death panel commercials.

    • Johnny D

      They might indeed have had a chuckle over the commercials, but they probably will fail to see the humor of their names becoming public.

  • Nick Mulgrave

    America! It’s over. The terrorists won.

    • ML3

      Bush climbed up the slide and cleared the way.
      Obammy greased the skids and finished us off.

  • Oswaldwasalefty

    Hey, what do you know, Obama has apparently created a "Death Panel", not to kill the indigent ill, but to kill dissidents. A death panel the reactionary right will love once in power in the White House, no doubt.

  • Roger Lafontaine

    America: Undemocratic and proud of it! Talk about a 'slippery slope' – we're way down that road now, executing innocent convicts, assassinating 'suspects', torturing, secret prisons, secret laws, secret wars… add your own, I know there's more, probably more than any one of us knows.

  • Heathcliff_Maw

    Just because Barry Zero taught constitutional law does not mean he ever believed in the constitution. I had a professor back in the day that taught us about the USSR and he wasn't a communist.

  • VietNamWarVet1966

    The arbitrary murdering of citizens is what dictators do.

    • Druthers

      It is what happens when too much power is concentrated in to few hands.

  • ML3

    when did we get a Politburo?
    Jeez I hope one of us doesn't get on this list by accident.

    • The prophet

      It won't be by accident.

  • John Ellis

    Our voting majority, the 51% with the best jobs, most terrific homes and most healthy healthcare, they wanted socialist Awlaki dead, so to please the voters Obama made him dead.

    Our high society, the 1% who pass 90% of America’s wealth from father to son, they wanted revolutionary Awlaki dead, so to please those who hand picked Obama and funded his election, Obama made him dead.

    Our war-time President, as he would loose most all of his power and glory if be brought our troops home, he wanted the most skillful political organized among Muslims dead, so he killed activist Awlaki even though most in the know believe that Awlaki was doing more good then harm.

  • stevieb

    What's to say, really?

    For me, this is just another example of an illegitmate, rogue regime – bending laws, breaking laws, purposely and creatively lying to the public,etc. We'd become far too blase about political accountability; we want others to make our decisions for us. And this is what happens.

    These 'hitman' tactics are one of the most frightening and sobering reminders of how facism has manifested itself as the dominant American ideology..

  • MvGuy

    I wonder how one is CHOSEN for these "special" Govt. services… Does this panel vote..?? It must be a secret vote… otherwise the LONG statute of limitations could bring some unhappy interface with law and a charge of "wrongful death"……. if not MURDER…!!! What I want to know is HOW these arbiters of American Lives are chosen, appointed… installed…, the length of their terms are and how they are vetted for conflicts… Is it considered an honor to be a member of these death panels or is it more like executioners, where the job is considered undesirable and it's occupants desire to remain hidden…

    Upon further reflection, i see this new Death Panel as a scheme by the lawyers for endless litigation. Much like the endless war wet dream of the generals… First the lawyers can litigate for years, decades to get the names of the fools who will then become pinattas for lawyers…… After they "turn" the panel members, they can move up the hierarchy of elected and appointed leaders, Finally they can, fueled with the settlements from the lesser players, go after the big Kahuna, the U.S. government for that settlement that keeps on giving… FOREVER …. Brilliant…!!!

  • Jeremiah

    Once again, the actions of a state demolish assertions by modern "logicians" that "slippery slope" arguments are fallacious per se. If those who claim a monopoly on violence in a given geographic area are unopposed in one usurpation or expansion of power, they will eventually attempt to expand that newly acquired power; history abounds with examples of this phenomenon—and the last ten years of US history alone are a cornucopia of proofs. I'm beginning to suspect that the dismissal of the slippery slope as an outright fallacy—which, as an academic trend, appears to be of fairly recent vintage—is itself a form of state propaganda.

  • Brad_Smith2

    So do they flip a coin? I know they cut write all the names in chalk on the floor and then they chop the head off of a chicken and let it run around. When it finally dies the look at the name next to it and they pick him or her.

  • Jamie

    The terrorists never won this was Amaricas plan from the start thet did 9/11 not 19 hijackers.Every president even before Clinton did this icramently and each was worse than the last in there own way.The constition is no longer valid if a president wants to implement a unconstitutional plan he does without congress doing a thing.If Obama was not impeached for this and many other things the 1 persent won not the terrorists because that 1 persent is the terrorists.America is the worse country on the face of the earth ever, they just lie to the gullable good.It starts with terrorists than the average American wanted for a crime but was never charged or tryed.Watch even Americans should pray the country goes well its already bankrupt Americans better just pray for the day the dollar collapses and things will be bad but they can start over and follow the constitution.It started way before Clinton but to see the scum he was with proff mudering Americans then just without public knowledge watch The New Clinton Chronicles he really had use fooled.Is this panel going to start assasinations on free speach for people like us.So saying the terrorist won I hope you are being sarcastic.

  • masmanz

    What if someone on the Death Panel gets on the Death List? Will a collegue on the panel shoot him/her or will it be just old fashioned suicide?

  • Jamie

    Im a Canadian and pray every American citizen do everthing they can with the little power they have to stop this evil.Call congress all 340 million of you well less there are babys that if lived in the middel east you would be worrying about drones dropimng everywere and killing you child pease please do something it not just other places it at home now.If all would have after 9/11 not fell into there trap America and the world would not be this way.

  • Druthers

    This is a really thrilling game, better than Russian roulette.

    It is called, playing Giod.

  • Nelson_2008

    It must take a special kind of "person" to sit on the "death panel" and decide who lives and who dies. I wonder what the ethnic background is of the "people" on the death panel? Irish maybe? Or Italian? Maybe they're Polish? I can't imagine who or what kind of "people" would seek that power.

    • Jeremiah

      The state employs—and is, in fact, largely composed of—"special" people. Of course, their equivalents in the mundane realm are generally known as "dangerous sociopaths." It seems, then, there is a special kind of magic in state organizations which turns liars, thieves and murderers into Great Men and "Deciders" above all worldly reproach.

      And a blacker "magic" the world has never known.

    • MoT

      Whatever racial background they hail from there is one thing common to all. They're all worshipers of a blood cult.

  • Jamie

    I somtimes wonder if Obama is a good guy being forced to do the illegal actions he has done but eather way he is a criminal that never was a reason for defence at Nurenberg.But then again he could just be a great lier he never did 1 thing he said that got him elected.

  • R.C.

    Interesting how the HUFFPO crowd has been dead silent on this. I found only one article on that site about this today, and it was an "editiorial" which basically claimed (very falsely) that just the "Republicans" and former "Bush Admin officials" were "complaining" about their dear leaders illegal killing. What happened to the days when people opposed something because it was morally reprehensible? it seems that as long as their man is committing the crimes, they're perfectly fine with it. This is one of the reasons I LOVE antiwar.com. I've never see any of this partisan BS going on here..except for maybe Juan Cole (hopefully the editors are working on this one).


  • Roger Lafontaine

    More questions: How long are their lists? Where do the candidates come from ? From the no-fly list? Who are the members of the panel? All military-high security types? Lawyers? Chaplains? Business executives? Intelligence experts? Police? Judges? Who chooses them ? The President? An appointee? How long has this really been going on? A couple of years? Decades? Do they know where I live? Are they watching me? And finally, as the bumper sticker on a 'Iraq War Vet' truck said "Who's next?"

  • Yes Smithers

    You know, when Hitler got into power, he began governing by decree using the emergency powers which had been previously used by his predecessors. It only took him a little over a year before he used those powers to order the murder of his predecessor as chancellor Kurt von Schleicher. The next-to-last chancellor (von Papen) had two of his closest associates murdered and might have been murdered himself but was spared for political reasons. Papen's predecessor (Bruning) had to flee Germany to avoid being murdered.

    So, enjoy those emergency powers, boys. I don't know who your successors on the death panel will be but I wouldn't want to bet on them being the nicest of people or the most forgiving of political rivals.

  • thedissenter

    The Amerikan Gestapo at work. Won't be long before they start lynching intellectuals, bloggers, dissenters…

  • fedupandsick

    "making a number of americans uneasy" Obviously not a large enough number judging by the reaction of the chest pounding sheeple.

  • Benjacomin Bozart

    At least if we are lucky we will get a quick death by an drone that, while killing us, might also get the neighbor across the street who blocks the road with his van. Better than the guys in our secret and otherwise prisons where they beat you to death or find nasty ways to kill people with power tools.

    I wonder if Tim Allen make a Home Improvement movie set in a US prison in Afghanistan where Tim is sent when his National Guard unit is called up? Tool Time girl in a camouflage bikini. Get the Binford ratchet gun and more power to get the confession from the bad guys who hate our freedom.

  • Strider55

    "America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." — Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

    Does anyone else get the feeling that the "awkward stage" is just about over?