from NBC News online:
By Michael Isikoff National Investigative Correspondent, NBC News

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the  September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.

http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/04/16843014-exclusive-justice-department-memo-reveals-legal-case-for-drone-strikes-on-americans?lite

Meanwhile, Mika @ “MORNING JOE” admits that the drone attack policy would NOT be tolerated by the Left if George W. Bush was using it:

from Newsbusters:

Unusual candor from Mika Brzezinski and Harold Ford, Jr. on the double  standard that exists for Republicans and Democrats.  Discussing on today’s Morning Joe the Obama administration memo that has been uncovered authorizing the use of drone strikes to kill U.S.  citizens abroad, Mika admitted that there would have been a “huge  controversy” if such a memo had surfaced during the Bush  administration. Ford said that “Democrats have to think now about how  they conducted themselves and the questions they raised about Bush  administration tactics.” Joe Scarborough flatly declared that had the policy  come to light under Bush, it would have been “stopped” by the ensuing outcry.  View the video after the jump.

Read more:  http://newsbusters.org/blogs/mark-finkelstein/2013/02/05/mika-admits-under-bush-drone-strike-memo-would-have-caused-huge-co#ixzz2K2fokzNZ