US Demands Judge Dismiss Lawsuits Against Assassination of Citizens

Vows to Declare 'State Secrets' If Case Continues

The Obama Administration has demanded that a federal judge throw out a lawsuit relating to the assassination of three US citizens in Obama-ordered drone strikes, saying that questions about overseas kill lists are beyond the purview of the court system and that it is inappropriate to question the president in this regard.

The demand comes with a threat to declare the entire issue of the killings a “state secret” if the judge doesn’t dismiss the lawsuit out of hand, which would make the case as a practical matter virtually impossible.

The Justice Department’s motion went on to say that the court system had no say over the question of whether assassinating American citizens overseas was proportionate or justified, and that questions of “due process” in the summary executions were not something courts could constitutionally consider.

The motion also insisted that there was no standing to question the assassination of Anwar Awlaki or his son, Abdulrahman Awlaki, because the later was the heir of the former and was killed before he was able to file a lawsuit as executor of the estate.

The elder Awlaki was referred to as a “leader” in a terrorist group in the motion, but the administration has repeatedly declined to provide any evidence for this, and has only cited sermons critical of US foreign policy as proof he is an “extremist.” The younger Awlaki was never even suspected of a crime, but was assassinated shortly after his father.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of