THE BLOG
02/13/2013 04:05 pm ET | Updated Apr 14, 2013

Two White House Petitions on Civil Liberties and Executive Power

Michael Hastings described last week as a time when the "country started to show signs of outrage over the Obama administration's targeted killing program." At the very least, there was a significant uptick in related press reports, prompted by the John Brennan confirmation hearings and, more importantly, the DOJ white paper Michael Isikoff got a hold of.

I wanted to follow up by posting the following two petitions to the White House's "We The People" petition website. They are written as questions, in the hope of promoting further discussion of topics the Obama campaign largely avoided during the most recent campaign.

1) The first petition concerns the death of Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki. It reads:

Publicly address the circumstances and civil liberties implications of the killing of Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki.

Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, a 16-year-old U.S. citizen, was killed in Yemen by a American drone strike in October, 2011.

The circumstances surrounding his death have not been addressed publicly by the Obama administration. This petition calls on the administration to publicly discuss the decisions and information which led to Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki's death.

If the administration seeks to argue that those circumstances must remain classified in the name of national security, this petition calls on the administration to address the civil liberties implications of that argument. If the circumstances surrounding the lethal targeting of U.S. citizens are not public information, does such a situation make violations of the Bill of Rights more likely?

2) The second petition concerns the role of the court system in the military targeting of U.S. citizens. It reads:

Explain why a FISA-style court or post-facto judicial process should not examine the military targeting of U.S. citizens

The DOJ white paper recently released by NBC news asserted that the military targeting of U.S. citizens should not be adjudicated by U.S. courts. Specifically, page 10 of the document read:

"Finally, the Department notes that under the circumstances described in this paper, there exists no appropriate judicial forum to evaluate these constitutional considerations."

This petition calls on the administration to explain why either FISA-style courts or a post-facto judicial examination of the military targeting of a U.S. citizen would so adversely impact U.S. national security that such judicial processes should not be employed, despite the civil liberties implications of that decision.

If you think these petitions have merit, please share them.