ACLU and CCR Sue OFAC over Expenditures Related to Al-Awlaki Lawsuits
Adam Serwer has a post up flagging a new suit by the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) against the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) over funds expended over the question of whether the Obama administration can designate and then target Al-Awlaki as a terrorist hiding out presumably in Yemen. (Adam tried to contact me to discuss it, but despite this post, I am really, truly out of touch. In and out of the mountains, about to drive across the desert, and an iffy internet connection. However, without having read anything at all besides Adam’s post, this is likely an important lawsuit.) I, as I have remarked various times, see no problem with the US government targeting Al-Awlaki, US citizen or not. I don’t have a problem with the refusal of OFAC to issue the required license for the expenditure of funds on someone the US government has designated as a terrorist under existing US law. However, those are separate legal questions, and there are others besides, not least the recent Supreme Court decision approving, if my sun and altitude-addled recollection is correct – and it might not be – something pretty much like what OFAC just did. (We’ve written on it here, but I don’t dare leave this page.) But I leave it to everyone else to sort out; I just wanted to flag it to everyone’s attention, and kudos to Adam for being on top of it.
(Also, while I am thinking of it, Mary Ellen O’Connell and I have an “issues debate” – about 500 words each, pro and con format – on targeted killing and drones up at the Congressional Quarterly blog. I’ll try to find a link later; not sure if it is public or not.)
(ps. Thanks to Ben for his comment on my earlier Eastern Sierra post – just wanted to say that among other day hikes, we did indeed make it to Heart Lake.)
Update: Politico is now reporting that OFAC will permit the license for the underlying lawsuit, on the fundamental targeting issues, to proceed, presumably mooting this suit. (Thanks to Mark Field.)