June 23, 2014

Wyden Statement on the Release of Justice Department Memo on Using Lethal Force Against Americans

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., issued the following statement today on the release of a 2010 Justice Department Memo on the use of lethal force against Americans:

“I believe every American has the right to know when their government believes it is allowed to kill them, and the public release of this memo is a positive step toward reducing the secrecy that surrounds this question. However, there are many important questions that this memo does not address.

It is my hope that making this memo public will generate new pressure for the executive branch to answer other pressing questions.  For example, how much evidence does the president need to determine that a particular American is a legitimate target for military action? Or, can the president strike an American anywhere in the world? What does it mean to say that capturing an American must be ‘infeasible’? And exactly what other limits and boundaries apply to this authority? 

I urge the executive branch to build on today’s disclosure and start answering these additional questions. Americans deserve the opportunity to have a robust public debate about how the law is being interpreted and whether the rules that the executive branch is following are adequate.”