Memo Used to Kill U.S. Citizen Released

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Monday published a redacted version of the 2010 Justice Department memo authorizing the drone attack on American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. Awlaki was killed by the U.S. in Yemen without due process. The memo was prepared by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and then-acting chief David Barron. The memo cites the Supreme Court case Mathews v. Eldridge, saying it permits the government to weigh “the private interest that will be affected by the official action” against the “burdens the Government would face in providing greater process.” The memo also argued that since al-Awlaki was an “operational leader” of an “enemy force,” the U.S. was permitted to kill him, “as part of the United States’ ongoing non-international armed conflict with al Qaeda.”