In a statement emailed to reporters, the American Civil Liberties Union slammed the White House for creating a special hitlist of terrorists, which it calls a “disposition matrix.” According to the Washington Post, a database to create the list has been in development for two years.
The ACLU has filed a pair of Freedom of Information Act requests regarding the database as as well as a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. In its release, it said:
“Anyone who thought U.S. targeted killing outside of armed conflict was a narrow, emergency-based exception to the requirement of due process before a death sentence is being proven conclusively wrong,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. “The danger of dispensing with due process is obvious because without it, we cannot be assured that the people in the government’s death database truly present a concrete, imminent threat to the country. What we do know is that tragic mistakes have been made, hundreds of civilian bystanders have died, and our government has even killed a 16-year-old U.S. citizen without acknowledging let alone explaining his death. A bureaucratized paramilitary killing program that targets people far from any battlefield is not just unlawful, it will create more enemies than it kills.”