Secret panel can put Americans on "kill list'

Washington (Reuters) - American militiamen and Anwar al-Awlaki listed or killed by a secret group of government officials, who reports to the President for his decision, officials said.

There is no public record of the operation or decisions of the group, which is a subset of the White House, National Security Council, the words of several past and present. Nor are there laws establish the existence or set of rules that have to operate.

The rear panel's decision to add Awlaki was born in the United States preacher suspected militants in connection with Al Qaeda's target list. He was killed by a barrage of CIA drone in Yemen late last month.

The president's role in ordering or ratifying the decision to target citizens are blurred. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to discuss anything about the process.

And former officials said that the best of their knowledge, Awlaki, the White House says is a key figure in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen based on the affiliate Qaeda, is the only place in the U.S. government's list of persons under arrest or death for his alleged involvement with militants.

The White House described the murder as a manifestation of resistance of President Barack Obama Awlaki against militants who threaten America. But the process that led to the murder Awlaki has been the subject of fierce criticism from the political left and right.

In an ironic twist, Obama, who ran for president denounced his predecessor, George W. Extensive use of executive power in Bush's "war on terror", was attacked on several occasions to use similar tactics. These include a secret legal justifications and secret intelligence assessment.

Liberals criticized the rumor of an attack on U.S. citizens, including extrajudicial killings.

Conservatives criticize Obama for refusing to release a legal opinion from the Department of Justice Equality Awlaki killed. Obama was accused of hypocrisy, noting that his government insists on issuing the Bush era of legal memos justifying the use of research methods many equate with torture, but refused to make public the reasons for the murder of citizens adjustment process.

Some details about how the government was on the orientation of Awlaki held on Tuesday, when the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee of the House, Representative Dutch Ruppersberger, reporters asked him about the murder.

This process involves the passage "of the National Security Council, and finally went to the presidency, but the National Security Council of the probe, with lawyers, review, view the situation, you have the input of the military, and In addition, we are sure that they comply with international law, "said Ruppersberger.

Consulting attorney

Other officials said the president's role in this process is so bleak Ruppersberger said.

They say that the recommendations made by a committee of middle-level National Security Council and officials of the agency. He was sent its recommendations to the "principal" means the group NSC Chief Cabinet Secretary and the intelligence unit for approval. The head of the panel members may have additional time to consider the various operational problems, they said.

The official insisted on anonymity to discuss confidential information.

Shall be ensured that lawyers, including the Department of Justice, was consulted before the name of Awlaki was added to the list of targets.

The two main legal theories have been advanced, an official said: first, that such action is authorized by Congress when it authorized the use of military force against militants in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and allowed under international law if the state to defend itself.

Some officials say that when Awlaki became the first American to be placed on the target list, Obama is not necessarily personally approve the target person. However, an official said Obama will be notified of the most important decisions. If he objected, the decision was overturned, he said.

An official said earlier that the reasons for doing most of the senior officials responsible for the candidacy for the U.S. target list to "protect" the president.

U.S. officials confirmed that a second, Samir Khan, was killed in the attack drone killed Awlaki. Khan has worked as editor of Inspire, glossy magazine AQAP English language as a vehicle for propaganda and recruitment.

However, rather than specifically targeted at fashion operators, Khan in the wrong place at the wrong time, authorities said. Ruppersberger seems to confirm, said Khan's death was "collateral", which means that rumors deliberately protest.

When a name, instead of U.S. foreign militants have been added to the list of objectives, the decision was made in the intelligence community and usually do not require approval by higher officials of the NSC.

'Inspiration in the operation'

Awlaki officials say, the harsh sermons widely circulated English language militant website, the objectives of the information collected by Washington has lost its role in the AQAP not resign "from the inspiration for the operation." Propaganda only compatible with the objectives of al-Qaeda, have begun Awlaki directly involved in a plot against U.S. targets.

"Let me emphasize, Awlaki was not only a human messenger, but the integral involved in a deadly terrorist activity," said Daniel Benjamin, senior State Department counterterrorism, last spring.

The Obama has not been made public accountant classified evidence that operating Awlaki involved in planning terrorist attacks.

However, officials acknowledged that some intelligence purporting to show the role of hand-Awlaki in planning attacks patchwork.

For example, a framework within which authorities say involved Awlaki was born in Nigeria Omar Faruk Abdulmutallab, accused of trying to break the plane of Detroit in the United States on Christmas Day 2009 with a bomb hidden in his pants.

Abdulmutallab is definitely a fan or follower Awlaki, recognizing that U.S. researchers. When he appeared in the Detroit courtroom earlier this week to begin the trial in the alleged plot, he said, "Anwar is still alive."

But this time the White House is considering placing the list of U.S. targets Awlaki, especially in the intelligence that connects Awlaki Abdulmutallab and the alleged plot to bomb a little. Authorities said at the time U.S. participation Awlaki sound wiretapping known and used by someone you trust, but positive, not Abdulmutallab.

Awlaki involved in cases where an employee who was imprisoned by British Airways for conspiring to blow up a plane to America. E-mails obtained by the authority of the employee's computer shows what one researcher called "operational contact" between Britain and Yemen.

Authorities believe the main contact between the UK based on suspect and his brother. But there is a strong suspicion that Awlaki is part of the brothers when it sent the message. The British media reported that in the message, the people of Yemen at the end is like saying: "Our top priority is the United States ... For those, you can get a package or a person with a package to board a flight to the U.S.? "

U.S. Awlaki intelligence officials suggested instead of participating in a particular plot in the works of Adam Gadahn, an American citizen who became a major propagandist for English-language based on the Al Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden above.

While Gadahn appeared in a video calling for attacks angered U.S. officials said it was not intended specifically to capture or killing by U.S. forces because he was considered a flagrant not directly involved in planning attacks.

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