Attorney General Eric Holder speaks about targeted killings of U.S. citizens

March 6, 2012

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(AP/Brian Kersey)
Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at Northwestern University about the decision to kill U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki in Yemen.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder broke the Obama administration’s silence on the legal justification for its decision to kill American-born al Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki yesterday. In a speech at Northwestern University Law School, Holder said the decision to kill al-Awlaki in Yemen five months ago "is among the gravest that government leaders can face.” He justified the action as legal and sometimes necessary in the war on terror. Holder accused al-Awlaki of concocting plans to kill Americans, but he never explicitly acknowledged how the administration responded by targeting the cleric for death. Instead, the attorney general outlined a three-part test to determine the legality of killing targeted U.S. citizens. Worldview takes a closer look at Holder’s speech with our human rights contributor, Doug Cassel.