ACLU takes on U.S. government over targeted killings

November 11, 2010

Produced by Worldview

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(Muhammad ud-Deen/Wiki Commons)
Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, is a potential target for assassination by the U.S. government.

Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki’s anti-American preachings have been linked to numerous terrorism plots against the United States. Believed to be hiding in Yemen, Awlaki is often cited as the spiritual leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which claimed responsibility for the recent plot to detonate packages bound for the U.S.

Not surprisingly, the US government considers Awlaki an enemy in the war on terror and he’s now on a list for targeted assassination. But Awlaki is an American citizen, born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents. Last Monday, a federal judge in Washington D.C. heard arguments in a suit brought by the ACLU and Center for Constitutional Rights. The suit seeks to challenge the government’s authority to target an American citizen for assassination. The case raises a number of issues where there’s little or no precedent in American law. Joseph Marguiles, from Northwestern University’s School of Law, talks about what's at stake and the case’s broader implications in the War on Terror.