Can the targeted killing program be reformed? That will be the topic of discussion today at 4pm EST, as the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights holds a hearing entitled “Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing" Regular Lawfare readers know that I've authored six prior posts on the process of targeted killing (starting here with a helpful table of content
Gregory McNeal is a professor at Pepperdine University. He is a national security specialist focusing on the institutions and challenges associated with global security, with substantive expertise in national security law and policy, criminal law, and international law. He previously served as Assistant Director of the Institute for Global Security, co-directed a transnational counterterrorism grant program for the U.S. Department of Justice, and served as a legal consultant to the Chief Prosecutor of the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions on matters related to the prosecution of suspected terrorists held in the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
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In my prior posts I discussed the process of targeted killing, and some of the accountability mechanisms embedded in the process. This post, and my next and final post will address reform recommendations that may help make the targeted killing program more publicly accountable.
In my prior post I focused on how Congress can serve as a mechanism of political accountability for targeted killings. In this post I want to focus on presidential and international politics as potential accountability mechanisms.
As regular readers know, I authored three posts on the kill-list creation process. In my first post I explained how law creates categories of targets, and how bureaucrats begin to create lists of targets. In my second post I explained how network analysis contributes to the kill-list creation process. The third post described the extensive paper and electronic trail of approvals and intelligence associated with the kill-
This is a depiction of what a kill-list "baseball card" looks like:
In my previous post I discussed how law creates three broad categories of potential targets (AUMF targets, Covert Action targets, and Ally targets). Those broad categories mean that many individuals may be targetable based on their status as members of an organized armed group. Working from these broad legal categories, the U.S.