- The Washington Times - Monday, February 10, 2014

The Obama administration is reportedly wrestling with the idea of unleashing a fatal drone attack against a U.S. citizen believed to be a member of al Qaeda and suspected of actively plotting an attack on Americans who are overseas.

The citizen’s name was not released and neither were the circumstances surrounding the mulled drone kill — including the country he’s reportedly residing in, The Associated Press reported.

But currently, CIA drones have him under surveillance but can’t attack due to his American status, AP said. The Justice Department must first build a legal case, showing the need to kill him — and so far, neither Attorney General Eric Holder nor his aides have done that.

Four officials with the U.S. government said in the AP report that the American suspect is currently in a country that won’t allow America’s military to tread its lands. But using a drone to take him out would be especially tricky, given President Obama’s recently released policy that states only the military — not the CIA — can take fatal actions against suspected U.S. terrorists, AP reported.


The American-turned-al Qaeda suspect is described as a facilitator, responsible for committing several deadly attacks against Americans who are overseas. Two of the officials in the AP report also say this citizen continues to plan more attacks using improvised explosive devices, AP reported.

** FILE ** In this Sept. 5, 2013, file photo, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. An American citizen who is a member of Al Qaeda is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
** FILE ** In this Sept. 5, 2013, file photo, Senate Intelligence ... more >

The decision of how to subdue the American citizen has split the administration. One official said in the AP report that some in the Defense Department say he’s not dangerous enough to kill him absent capture, interrogation and conviction — and that using a drone to take him out would lead to a massive political outcry that would further damage and erode America’s relations with the country he’s living in, AP said.