We conduct those strikes because they are necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats, to stop plots, prevent future attacks and, again, save American lives. These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney • Speaking on a recent Justice Department memo made public, asserting the government’s right to target citizens for drone strikes if it’s deemed they’ve been involved in attacks against the United States, circumventing the due process of law that Americans are traditionally Constitutionally entitled to. The memo itself seems to strive for a standard under which the U.S. drone killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, for example, a U.S. citizen suspected of terrorist activity when he was slain in Yemen, would be considered legal. This is an interesting policy area for the odd political bedfellows it draws together, as both left and right wing criticisms of the targeted killing program are prevalent, and President Obama’s nominee to head the CIA, his 1st term counterterrorism chief John Brennan, has a Senate confirmation ahead of him. Brennan in his old job was a central figure in the U.S. drone program, and as such we’d anticipate even some bipartisan congressional grilling on this topic during his hearing. source