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The U.S. government may use drone strikes to kill U.S. citizens abroad under specific circumstances, according to a confidential Justice Department memo that's been leaked to the press. Should you be concerned?
As you may know, drone strikes against terror suspects in the Middle East and South Asia have dramatically increased during President Obama's administration. The legal justification for these fatal drone strikes abroad has largely been kept secret.
So if you're enjoying a day at Euro Disney with your family, could you suddenly get shot down by a drone? Not really, unless your actions give the U.S. government reason to hunt you down, according to the 16-page Justice Department memo uncovered by NBC News.
For example, you may be targeted by a U.S. drone strike if:
Under these guidelines, who should really be concerned about drone strikes on Americans abroad? While the strikes are meant to target only terror suspects, the memo is filled with so much legal jargon that much of it can be open to interpretation. That arguably leaves enough wiggle room for the government to kill whomever it wants, critics claim.
So while average Americans shouldn't have to worry about being killed in a drone strike abroad, there are some real concerns about the legal rhetoric used in the Justice memo, as the Lawfare blog points out. Such justifications may not be new or surprising, but they're still worth debating.