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John Brennan's Confirmation Hearing

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hold a hearing at 2:30 pm ET today on the nomination of John Brennan as CIA Director.

Yesterday, President Obama announced that the Office of Legal Counsel's targeted kill memo(s) will be provided to the members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Brennan's answers to pre-hearing questions are here. His answers pertaining to rendition, detention and interrogation begin on page 21.

Brennan, who is expected to be confirmed, will face some tough questioning, especially by Democrats. [More...]

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AG Eric Holder on Targeted Killings

At 4:30 pm ET, Attorney General Eric Holder will explain and attempt to legally justify the U.S. policy on targeted killings in a speech at Northwestern University in Chicago. He will also discuss the revamped military commission trials and successes of federal terror prosecutions.

Update: Prepared remarks here.

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Debate Continues on Targeted Killings of U.S. Citizens

The debate continues on the legality of the targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. The White House Counsel opinion supporting the practice apparently is still classified as no one has published a copy. But State Department legal advisor Harold Koh explained it pretty clearly in March, 2010:

What I can say is that it is the considered view of this Administration—and it has certainly been my experience during my time as Legal Adviser—that U.S. targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war.

....As recent events have shown, al-Qaeda has not abandoned its intent to attack the United States, and indeed continues to attack us. Thus, in this ongoing armed conflict, the United States has the authority under international law, and the responsibility to its citizens, to use force, including lethal force, to defend itself, including by targeting persons such as high-level al-Qaeda leaders who are planning attacks.

What about the criteria? Koh said: [More...]

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