A leaked memo drafted by the US Department of Justice cites a legal argument given by Lord Goldsmith, Tony Blair’s Attorney General in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq.
The 16-page memo makes the case that America’s drone programme is legally justified in targeting US citizens as part of wide-ranging extra-judicial powers granted to the President.
The emergence of the document, which was obtained by NBC News, is the first time the Obama Administration’s secret legal justification for deadly drone strikes against US citizens has been published.
The Department of Justice argues that Mr Obama can order the killing of senior al-Qaeda operatives even if there is no evidence they are planning an attack against the United States.
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