For Immediate Release
House Hears Testimony on Government’s Targeted Killing Program
Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform held a hearing today to discuss the legal issues
involved in the government's targeted killing program, including the use
of unmanned weapon systems, or drones, for the targeted killing of
individuals. The Obama administration has reportedly authorized the
targeted killing of individuals, including a U.S. citizen, outside of
the armed conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the border regions of
Based on reports about the
scope of the program, the American Civil Liberties Union has taken the
position that the administration's program of targeted killing outside
of armed conflict zones is unlawful.
The following can be
attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington
that gives our executive officials authority to hunt and kill U.S.
citizens and others far from any battlefield, without charge or trial
and without any guarantee that lethal force is used only as a genuine
last resort against imminent threats, must be rejected. A targeted
killing program conducted in secret, without checks and balances, will
invite abuse and potentially result in errors. Over the last decade, we
have seen the government repeatedly detain men as terrorists, only to
discover later that the evidence against them did not justify their
detention. These types of mistakes are obviously more serious when the
consequence is death."
The following can be
attributed to Christopher Anders, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel:
"Congress cannot sit back
and allow the executive branch to say ‘trust us' when it comes to
putting U.S. citizens and others on kill lists. There must be
accountability and the administration must provide the American public
with information about its targeted killing program. The targeted
killing program represents a fundamental shift in how the United States
uses lethal force, with enormous consequences for the future. It should
not be met with silence or acquiescence."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.