Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 23, 2012

Jeh Johnson on the belligerent citizen

Filed under: Legal Issues,Radicalization,Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Philip J. Palin on February 23, 2012

The DOD General Counsel spoke at Yale on Wednesday evening.   According to CNN:

The targeted killing of those suspected of engaging in terrorist activities against the United States, including American citizens, is justified and legal, according to the Defense Department’s chief lawyer.

Pentagon general counsel Jeh Johnson is the first government lawyer to officially weigh in on the legal justification for killing a U.S. citizen since American born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a CIA missile fired from an unmanned aerial vehicle last September.

In comments Wednesday night during a speech at Yale University, Johnson made no mention by name of al-Awlaki or the classified CIA drone program.

“Belligerents who also happen to be U.S. citizens do not enjoy immunity where non-citizen belligerents are valid military objectives,” Johnson said.

Benjamin Wittes at the Lawfare blog provides a transcript of Mr. Johnson’s prepared remarks.


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Comment by William R. Cumming

February 24, 2012 @ 1:43 am

Where did this guy go to law school? An imperial and lawless Administration? An American tragedy in that we pretend this technology is exclusively US!

Comment by The Doomsayer

February 24, 2012 @ 8:31 am


You have this right…so arrogant and so out of touch with reality…this superiority must cease….We hve so many dedicated folks, so many risking their Life every day…folks conducting their intel work and unknown to us and We see such absurdities coming from the beltway – no idea of foreign policies – no iodea of Islamic fundamemntalists and their inetnt w/o comprpomise and Barry Obama so narrow in personal and professional perspective in his tainted Arab thinking so influenced by even radicals and prejudice that he is a detriment himself to addressing what really needs to eb addressed and with few attributes the Republicans offer in candidate who can do much better…this next election w/Barry obama’s coffers spilling over…We are headed to further deficit increasesm global depression..and War! This “Goldman-Sachs” riddled WH and its leftist ideas and socialism will finally put the nails in the coffin and all will be in the hands of the Germans who will surely bring us to War as they have in the past – much anguish ahead and a US populace hoodwinked by both side of the aisle and like on the streets of Tehran, innocent and wonderful Syrian people – children – God’s Children – killed by the government – their own – what a world!

Comment by Dan O'Connor

February 24, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

Belligerents who also happen to be U.S. citizens do not enjoy immunity where non-citizen belligerents are valid military objectives,” Johnson said.

If it were only that simple.

Pingback by Homeland Security Watch » Jeh Johnson nominated for DHS Secretary

October 19, 2013 @ 5:26 am

[…] Homeland Security Watch has one prior post dealing with Mr. Johnson, from February 23, 2012. […]

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