(LOS ANGELES TIMES) -- The president has legal authority to target and kill American citizens working with Al Qaeda and its allies overseas, according to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., who declared that when such people pose a threat to the country and cannot be captured, "we must take steps to stop them."
Speaking to an audience at Northwestern University Law School, Holder gave the most complete explanation to date of the Obama administration's legal rationale for killing people such as American-born Anwar Awlaki, who was targeted in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen last year.
Such killings can be ordered "in full accordance with the Constitution," but it requires "at least" an imminent threat in a situation where capture is not feasible, and when the strike is "conducted in a manner consistent" with the rules of war, Holder said.
Advertisement - story continues below