James Bond, Ian Fleming’s fictional British spook, is famously “licensed to kill.”
But what about America’s nonfictional counterparts? Are they, too, licensed to kill Americans on American soil?
Asked that question, FBI Director Robert Mueller confessed he wasn’t sure. But he promised to find out.
From Catherine Herridge of Fox News:
FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday said he would have to go back and check with the Department of Justice whether Attorney General Eric Holder’s “three criteria” for the targeted killing of Americans also applied to Americans inside the U.S.
Pressed by House lawmakers about a recent speech in which Holder described the legal justification for assassination, Mueller, who was attending a hearing on his agency’s budget, did not say without qualification that the three criteria could not be applied inside the U.S.
“I have to go back. Uh, I’m not certain whether that was addressed or not,” Mueller said when asked by Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., about a distinction between domestic and foreign targeting.
Graves followed up asking whether “from a historical perspective,” the federal government has “the ability to kill a U.S. citizen on United States soil or just overseas.”
“I’m going to defer that to others in the Department of Justice,” Mueller replied.
Holder has already asserted that the administration doesn’t have to seek judicial review before dispatch hit men to kill Americans outside the national borders. All he needs is an okay from a death panel inside the executive branch.
Given the Obama administration blatant disregard for constitutional safeguards in other instances, we suspect borders won’t matter at all.
And if you’re wondering about those criteria, Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press spells them out. Under the Holder Doctrine, killing American citizens is permissible if:
■ The citizen poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the U.S.
■ Capture is not feasible.
■ The killing would be consistent with laws of war.
As you might suspect, The American Civil Liberties Union disagrees with Holder’s reasoning.