Obama Administration Authorizes CIA to Kill US Citizen

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Obama Administration Authorizes CIA to Kill US Citizen

The Obama administration has lowered another legal barrier shielding Americans from extrajudicial punitive action by their own government, in this case authorizing the CIA to kill a US citizen suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda in Yemen and links to two attacks inside the United States last year.

Anwar al-Awlaki, a Muslim cleric born in New Mexico but now living in Yemen, may be the first US citizen targeted for assassination by the CIA under a counter-terror policy established by President George W. Bush and since embraced by President Barack Obama.

Awlaki was previously viewed simply as an Islamic preacher espousing a radical religious viewpoint, but the reassessment of his status began last year when it was disclosed that Army Maj. Nidal Hassan had been communicating with Awlaki via e-mail before the Army psychiatrist allegedly shot and killed 12 soldiers and one civilian at Fort Hood in Texas last November.

A month later, on Christmas Day, a young Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines jetliner over Detroit, and US intelligence officials revealed that Abdulmutallab had been a student of Awlaki