The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Christina DiPasquale :

STATEMENT: Jeremy Scahill on DOJ Admission of Americans Killed in Drone Strikes


Today, The New York Times obtained a letter to members of Congress in which Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. admitted to the deaths of four American citizen by drone strikes. Jeremy Scahill, author of the bestselling book and Sundance award-winning documentary Dirty Wars, released the following statement:

"Attorney General Eric Holder's letter raises more questions than it answers. While the Obama administration now admits it intentionally killed Anwar Awlaki despite never having charged him with a crime, it continues to insist that the evidence against him is too sensitive to be made public. The assassination of Anwar Awlaki was a watershed moment and crossed a dangerous line. The public has a right to know the full, legal basis for killing an American citizen withoutproviding him any access to due process. How would Awlaki have surrendered when he was not even charged with a crime? How do you surrender to a drone?

"In his letter, Holder says that the United States did "not specifically target" 16-year-old US citizen Abdulrahman Awlaki. What does that phrase mean? Why then was he killed? The White House should explain his killing to the American people and to the boy's family. Despite its claims to be the most transparent administration in history, the Obama White House continues to keep secret from the American people vital information about its claimed lethal authorities. How does an American get on the kill list? How does one get off the kill list, especially when there are no criminal charges filed against you?

"Perhaps most disturbing about the Attorney General's letter is that it leaves totally unexplained why the United States has killed so many innocent non-American citizens in its strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. Yet, from my investigation on the ground in a variety of countries, I've become convinced that we are making more new enemies than we are killing terrorists. We mustconfront the realities of the full impact of our "targeted" killing program, particularly when innocent civilians are killed, so that we can have a real debate about whether our counterterrorism strategies are enhancing or degrading our national security."

As the producer, writer, narrator, and subject of the upcoming Sundance award-winning documentary Dirty Wars in theatres on June 7, Jeremy Scahill speaks directly with survivors of night raids and drone strikes, including the family of two of the four Americans named in Attorney General Holder's letter - Anwar Awlaki and Abdulrahman Awlaki. In the film, Special Forces operators, military generals, and U.S.-backed warlords go on camera and on the record with Scahill--some for the first time.

Jeremy Scahill will have limited press availability. To inquire about a potential interview, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.716.1953 or The trailer for Dirty Wars can be viewed at