"For the record, I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen – with a drone, or a shotgun – without due process...But..." -Barack Obama. 5.23.13
It's been nearly a year since President Obama used sweeping contradictions to defend killing American citizens, including a minor in a 2011 drone attack in Yemen. These attempts to quell public controversy over the strike that killed Anwar Al-Awlaki, his sixteen year old son and one other American citizen are now the basis for the most transparent memo addressing the US targeted killing program to date. Al-Awlaki was "taken out" based on Minority Report-style reasoning, killing him before he could kill others.
Obama, who vowed to be the most tranparent administration in history, has utilized his gift of smooth cadence to diffuse controversy at home or abroad and distance himself from reprecussions for his actions. "Trust me," has suceeded "Hope," "Change" and "Yes We Can" as Obama's catch phrase.
In discussing his role in killing Al-Awlaki, the administration's attempts to justify its drone program has now backfired since the US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that because Obama confessed to the strike, the administration cannot use classification as a "shield" to deceive the American people and kill at its own will.
The justice department has made no comment on when the documents will be made public, but the unanimous decision is a good sign of bringing the controversial practice to the public forum for informed debate.