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U.S. Memo Justifies Drone Strikes On Americans

An undated U.S. government memo appears to back the use of drone strikes against Americans living abroad who are planning attacks on U.S. interests. (file photo)
A memo from the U.S. Justice Department explains the legal basis for drone strikes on Americans abroad if they are planning attacks on U.S. interests or citizens.

According to the first reports broadcast by the U.S. television network NBC on February 4, the confidential memo said delaying action against individuals planning to kill Americans creates an unacceptably high risk.

The memo also argues that the use of drone strikes is justified under U.S. law if a targeted U.S. citizen had "recently" been involved in "activities" posing a possible threat, and provided that this citizen shows no signs of renouncing or abandoning such activities.

News of the undated document comes just ahead of a confirmation hearing for John Brennan, U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee for director of the CIA.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP