Senators Call for Transparency in Targeted Killings

Three members of the Senate Intelligence Committee said the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki was legal but that more openness is needed in the process

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Ho New / Reuters

Three Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee called Tuesday for more transparency in the OBama administration’s controversial targeted killing drone program.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore,), Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said they believe the 2011 killing of of al-Qaeda militant Anwar al-Awlaki was legal and proper, but that more needs to be made public about how the decision to kill people like him gets made. Awlaki was an American citizen and terror-sponsoring Islamist cleric who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011 that also killed his teenage son.

“We have also concluded that the limits and boundaries of the President’s power to authorize the deliberate killing of Americans need to be laid out with much greater specificity,” the senators said in a joint statement. “The United States’ playbook for combating terrorism will sometimes include sections that are secret, but the rulebook that the United States follows should always be available to the American public. … As we see it, every American has the right to know when their government believes it is allowed to kill them.”

Read the full statement here.