Monday, November 5, 2012

Benson to CIA's Top Lawyer: "Your time has come to do the right thing."

Elizabeth I. Benson
Chicago, IL 60626

October 31, 2012

General Counsel Stephen Preston
Central Intelligence Agency
Offcie of General Counsel
Washington, DC 20505

703-482-1739 703-613-3007

Dear General Counsel Preston,

I am writing to express grave concern about targeted killing strikes carried out by the CIA and the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command outside the context of armed conflict and against people who do not pose an imminent threat. It is in your power to help put an end to illegal targeted killings, including those that target U.S. citizens.

Targeted killing is illegal both under U.S. law and international treaties signed by the U.S. The only exception is when a person poses a concrete, specific, and imminent threat or, in the context of armed conflict, against a person who directly participates in hostilities. Even in these narrow circumstances, all attempts to capture the person must be exhausted and the government must take measures to protect civilian bystanders from harm. But these are not the standards your agency is using.

I reject the proposition that your agency can carry out targeted killing of people who do not pose an imminent threat in coutnries with which and in which our nation is not at war. I am also deeply concerned about reports that the CIA is carrying out "signature strikes" based on patterns of behavior, and that the CIA presumes "all military-age males" in particular strike zones are targets unless intelligence proves them innocent -- after they are dead.

As the top legal authority at the CIA, you have the power to advise decision makers to follow the law. Your time has come to do the right thing.

I look forward to your earliest possible response to my concerns and requests. Thank you.


Elizabeth I. Benson

No comments:

Post a Comment