Five months after the CIA sought out and killed an American-born cleric and al-Qaeda operative in Yemen, Attorney General Eric Holder explained how the U.S. can legally kill U.S. citizens on foreign soil. Holder's remarks, which were delivered yesterday, also re-asserted the administration's need for flexible discretion to use both military and civilian courts to prosecute some al-Qaeda suspects.
This is just the latest in a series of public speeches from senior Obama Administration legal and counterterrorism officials. The common theme between all parties is that the United States still is at war with al-Qaeda and its allies—a war authorized by Congress in 2001—but the speech has incrementally provided additional contour to these legal boundaries that come with the declaration of war.
With Holder addressing how the Obama and Bush administrations have used civilians courts to their advantage to convict and sentence terrorists, should the American public be in fear of what changes may come if one chooses to leave the safe haven of the United States?