Today, the United States formally acknowledged killing four American citizens with drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan.
Attorney General Eric Holder disclosed in a letter the administration had killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric in a September 2011 drone strike in Yemen.
The letter also said that the United States had killed three other Americans: Samir Khan, who was killed in the same strike; Mr. Awlaki’s son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was also killed in Yemen; and Jude Mohammed, who was killed in a strike in Pakistan.
Mr. Holder wrote “These individuals were not specifically targeted by the United States.”
Previously, the administration had refused to confirm it’s responsibility for Awlaki’s death. The Attorney General stated that he was targeted not only for his words but for urging violent attacks against America.
Mr. Holder alleged that Mr. Awlaki not only “planned” the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25, 2009, a claim that has been widely discussed in court documents and elsewhere, but also “played a key role” in an October 2010 plot to bomb cargo planes bound for the United States, including taking “part in the development and testing” of the bombs.
“Moreover, information that remains classified to protect sensitive sources and methods evidences Awlaki’s involvement in the planning of numerous other plots against U.S. and Western interests and makes clear he was continuing to plot attacks when he was killed,” Mr. Holder wrote.
President Obama will be delivering a major speech tomorrow on National Security.