The lawsuit, which is yet to be filed, will be the very first legal challenge to the CIA’s target list.
Anwar al-Awlaki’s father, Nasser al-Awlaki, hired the Center for Constitutional Rights and ACLU to file the lawsuit that will immediately remove his son from CIA’s target list. Anwar was placed on the list just last month.
NYU law professor, Sam Rascoff confirmed that the lawsuit that CIA will be facing from the al-Awlaki’s would be a new kind of challenge to American counter-terrorism.
“Previous lawsuits have focused mainly on the government’s power to detain, interrogate, and gather intelligence on individuals as part of the so-called ‘war on terror.’ Now, for the first time, the government’s authority to kill one of its own citizens is in question,” added Rascoff.
Anwar al-Awlaki is Internet’s famous radical cleric. He was allegedly connected to the al-Qaida’s arm in Yemen as the senior operative. Anwar was also suspected to be one of the responsible for both the attempted bombing during Christmas on a US airliner and the Fort Hood shootings.
Nasser al-Awlaki who remains close contact with ACLU and CCR believes that the Obama administration has given the go signal to kill his son even without the due process of the law.
Awlaki’s case will go right to the heart of the debatable boundaries of battlefield issue as of where the United States Government can pursue those who are connected to the Taliban. So far it has extended to countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq or even in the US. This was impressed by both of the Obama and Bush administration.
“But the United States is not at war in Yemen, and the government doesn’t have a blank check to kill terrorism suspects wherever they are in the world. Among the arguments we’ll be making is that, outside actual war zones, the authority to use lethal force is narrowly circumscribed, and preserving the rule of law depends on keeping this authority narrow,” This is according to one of ACLU’s attorneys, Jameel Jaffer.
The case hasn’t made progress since the lawyers cannot represent either of the two Awlakis. Anwar was placed under the Specially Designated Global Terrorists. The lawyers still have to obtain a special license from the US Treasury Department since all of Anwar al-Awlaki’s assets were frozen, Americans are prohibited to make any business transactions with him, and his travel opportunities were restricted. Meaning, no legal counsel can represent him in US judicial court, even if it was a pro-bono case.
So far, Awlaki’s lawyers still haven’t procured the special license from the Treasury. They requested for a permission to represent Awlaki from the special division of the Treasury called Office of Foreign Asset Control last July 23. Up to this date, they still haven’t received any response.