Justify the United States’ ‘Kill List’

Target: President Barack Obama

Goal: Release the legal documents which are used to justify the killing of suspected terrorists abroad.

Currently, the United States is engaged in a large-scale campaign to disrupt and destroy terrorist groups in the Middle East. For the last several years, a vital component of the campaign against terrorism has been the widespread use of UAV (drone) and missile strikes on suspected terrorist combatants. Many terrorism suspects, several of whom were US citizens, have been killed, yet the United States government refuses to release the legal justifications behind their campaign.

The assassination of suspected terrorists, whether they are American citizens or foreign nationals, may be effective in disrupting terrorist groups, but it is a very legally controversial tactic. Not only do these strikes violate international treaties and sovereign airspace, but they represent an extraordinary departure from domestic US law; terrorist suspects are not given a trial, nor do they have any legal recourse to appeal their execution order.

Despite the highly controversial nature of the strikes, the United States government has not yet explained their legal reasoning used to justify the strikes in their own minds. Recent efforts by the ACLU and other civil rights groups to persuade the United States government to release the legal documentation have met with no success because the United States government claims that any such release would compromise national security.

Put plainly, there is no reason that the United States government should be executing people under a justification which they refuse to reveal. Without transparency, this program is very dangerous and a complete abrogation of the rule of law. Sign this petition to signal your support for the ACLU’s request of the United States government to release the legal justifications for the “kill list” program.


Dear President Barack Obama,

In recent years, your administration has engaged in a widespread program aimed at killing suspected terrorists before they can cause harm to the United States. This program, while effective at killing operation controllers of terrorist groups, is highly controversial and currently lacks a stated legal justification. Put plainly, the American public knows that the kill list program exists, where it is being practiced, and roughly who is involved, yet we do not know what legal justification gives the US government the ability to operate such a program.

As a former constitutional law professor, you know that the government cannot simply decide to act outside of its legal authority, particularly in cases where this action is the killing of individuals. There simply must be a legal justification behind the killing of suspected terrorists without due process, but your administration has yet to release one.

I, as well as everybody else to sign this document, implore you to reconsider your refusal of the ACLU’s freedom of information act request for the legal justification behind the kill list program. Currently, the lack of a legal justification for this program is likely more dangerous and controversial than if your administration were to just release its legal documents.


[Your Name Here]

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39 Signatures

  • Darlene Roepke
  • Frédérique Pommarat
  • Lynn Juozilaitis
  • Ann Blank
  • Eveline Mutsaerts
  • tam O
  • Mary-Carol Gales
  • Debbie Biere
  • Carole Mathews
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