In this interview with RT News, Sean Stone -- the son of Oliver Stone and outspoken critic of US anti-Iran sentiment -- claims that President Barack Obama has "assassinated American citizens" (~4:20 mark).

Is this claim true? Is there any proof that President Obama has taken actions to authorize targeted killing of US citizens?

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    People do realize that our Constitution allows a suspension of Due Process in times of war, right?
    – user10259
    Nov 13, 2012 at 5:36
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    @Jake then the whole "Bush started two illegal wars" thing would have no standing at all.
    – Ryathal
    Nov 13, 2012 at 13:48
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    @Jake The Constitution allows the suspension of habeas corpus (not due process in general) in times of "rebellion or invasion" (not war in general), and even that requires an Act of Congress. See article 1, section 9 and the 5th amendment. Nov 13, 2012 at 14:18
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    @Jake please refrain from saying things like "our constitution," here as we have an international audience. In fact, out of our top 25 users, only 6 are located in the United States.
    – Sam I Am
    Nov 14, 2012 at 18:06
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    @Ryathal It never did have any standing. Ironically, the only war that was even arguably 'illegal' (by any actual legal definition) that the U.S. has recently been involved in was also authorized by Obama (the attacks on Libya, which were never approved by Congress, which is a violation of the War Powers Act.)
    – reirab
    Jan 10, 2016 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


Yes. Anwar al-Awlaki was a United States citizen targeted and killed by a missile strike. The NY Times writes:

In 2010, the Obama administration had taken the rare step of authorizing the targeted killing of Mr. Awlaki, even though he was an American citizen — a step that had provoked lawsuits and criticism from human rights groups.

Although technically a covert operation, this article discusses the authorizing memo, saying,:

The secret document provided the justification for acting despite an executive order banning assassinations, a federal law against murder, protections in the Bill of Rights and various strictures of the international laws of war, according to people familiar with the analysis. The memo, however, was narrowly drawn to the specifics of Mr. Awlaki’s case and did not establish a broad new legal doctrine to permit the targeted killing of any Americans believed to pose a terrorist threat.

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    An important detail: That same strike also killed his teenage son Abdulrahman (a natural-born US citizen like his father) as collateral damage.
    – Chel
    Mar 1, 2012 at 18:36
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    @rdhs Wikipedia claims that it was not the same strike, but that in fact the two were killed two weeks apart: "Two weeks later, al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who was born in Denver, was killed by a CIA-led drone strike in Yemen". I haven't read through the citations well enough to check this. May 23, 2014 at 5:42

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