Drone (By: PHILIPPE LOPEZ, Getty Images)
PETE YOST, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - A Justice Department document says it is legal for the government to kill U.S. citizens abroad if it believes they are senior al-Qaida leaders continually engaged in operations aimed at killing Americans.
The confidential memo, first reported Monday night by NBC News, provides a legal rationale behind the Obama administration's use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects.
The 16-page document says that delaying action against individuals continually planning to kill Americans would create an unacceptably high risk.
It adds that the threat posed by al-Qaida and its associated forces demands a broader concept of when a person continually planning terror attacks presents an imminent threat.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)