While the administration scrambles to provide Constitutional protections to international terror suspects who take direct action against the United States, no such protections will exist for American citizens if they are deemed a terrorist, according to the director of national intelligence:
The director of national intelligence affirmed rather bluntly today that the U.S. intelligence community has authority to target American citizens for assassination if they present a direct terrorist threat to the United States.
“We take direct actions against terrorists in the intelligence community; if â€¦ we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that,” Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told the House Intelligence Committee.
“The targeting of Americans — it’s a very sensitive issue, but again there’s been more information in the public domain than what has been shared with this committee,” he said.
It’s important to note that the CIA is chartered to operate outside of the United States, thus what is being referred to here is the targeting of American citizens abroad, not within our own borders.
The difficulty that arises here is who is deemed a terrorist and what, exactly, is a terrorist group?
A commentor at Cryptogon.com, where we originally found this story, made an important point in this respect. Based on official government documents leaked over the course of the last several years, a very broad definition for “terrorist” has emerged.
The MIAC Strategic Report dated February 20, 2009 suggests that the militia movement in the United States may itself be a breeding ground for terrorist idealogies that include:
- Those who identify with Christianity
- White nationalists
- Sovereign citizens who question the legitimacy of the federal government
- Militant anti-abortionists
- Tax resistors
- Anti-immigration proponents
As you can see, the definitions here are very loose.
The Patriot Act legislation, however, is even more unclear as to who can or cannot be deemed a terrorist. Under Patriot Act, it seems that just about anyone who violates a federal law and/or is accused of any of the following can be arrested for terrorism:
(5) the term `domestic terrorism’ means activities that–
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended–
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.’
A terrorist violation of Patriot ActÂ can have serious implications, a couple of which involve being incarcerated for the duration of your life without access to due process, a protection specifically enumerated by the sixth amendment of the Constitution, as well as forfeiture and seizure of all personal assets of said terrorist under Patriot Act section 806, even if the accused has not been convicted of a crime.
It looks like we can add authorized assassination to the list.
Frankly, this is sounding more and more like the former USSR everyday.