The Department of Justice has developed a white paper outlining the specific circumstances under which the United States can conduct a lethal drone strike against an American citizen, a copy of which was obtained Monday by NBCNews, reports thehill.com. The paper provides the first detailed look at the criteria the Obama administration uses to judge if it can legally kill American citizens traveling abroad without the benefit of due process. The release of the administration’s legal rationale comes days before CIA nominee John Brennan is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Panel members, including Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), have been pressing the administration on the issue for more than a year. In the document, the Justice Department concludes that a lethal strike against a senior operational leader of al Qaeda—or an affiliated terrorist group—can occur if a three-part test is met: that a high-level American intelligence official has determined the individual poses an imminent threat, that capture is infeasible, and that the strike is conducted according to the laws of war governing use of force. “This conclusion is reached with recognition of the extraordinary seriousness of a lethal operation by the United States against a U.S. citizen, and also of the extraordinary seriousness of the threat posed by senior operational al Qaeda members and the loss of life that would result were their operations successful,” the memo reads. The memo does not carry legal weight, although administration officials told the network the document is similar to classified guidance developed by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. It also provides a legal justification for the killing of cleric Anwar al-Awaki in Yemen in 2011. Al-Awlaki, a senior leader in al Qaeda born in the United States, was linked to multiple terrorist attacks, including those of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, and Faisal Shahzad, who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square last year. Much concern is being expressed over drones used wrongly against U.S. citizens. One big concern is that this is another attack on Americans’ constitutional rights. Drones are being used to kill terrorists in some parts of the world. The haunting question is, “When will some law abiding American citizens be labeled as terrorists?” asked a report in minutemennews.com.
- Under pressure from religious and conservative groups, the Obama administration has offered another compromise on the issue of birth control coverage within the Affordable Care Act, reports Fox News. While exempting churches and some religiously affiliated institutions, such as hospitals and universities, from supplying the coverage, the new proposal calls for their employees to receive stand-alone private insurance policies providing birth control coverage at no cost. Insurance companies will foot the bill. However, maintains commentator Cal Thomas, “only the naive can possibly think the cost won’t find its way back to the institution in the form of higher health premiums. Numerous lawsuits filed against this and other portions of ‘ObamaCare’ will proceed and for good reason: the federal government seems intent on setting rules on matters of conscience and worse, defining what constitutes a church, or religious institution. The core issue as I see it—and there are others—is whether the government has the right to define a church as a building in which people congregate on Sundays and whether a private company headed by a religious person qualifies for conscience exemptions. For government to decide such things violates the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment, which state ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .’ and appears to put the state in the position of supreme authority and arbiter of what constitutes ‘legitimate’ religious faith and practice. The Supreme Court will likely have to resolve its constitutionality.”
- President Obama’s health care law will push 7 million people out of their job-based insurance coverage—nearly twice the previous estimate, according to the latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday, reports washingtontimes.com. CBO said that this year’s tax cuts have changed the incentives for businesses and made it less attractive to pay for insurance, meaning fewer will decide to do so. Instead, they’ll choose to pay a penalty to the government, totaling $13 billion in higher fees over the next decade.
- A nationwide secularist organization has sent President Barack Obama a letter asking him to use his position as “honorary president” of the Boy Scouts of America to change their policy on atheists, reports The Christian Post. Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, co-presidents of the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, sent President Obama the letter on Monday urging him “to lead the way toward an America ‘with liberty and justice for all.'” Obama agreed, saying, “My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does, in every institution and walk of life. The Scouts are a great institution that is promoting young people and exposing them to opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives, and I think that nobody should be barred from that.” The Illinois Family Institute responded, “What he fails to address is whether organizations and associations have the right to make distinctions between moral and immoral acts.” Meanwhile, WorldNetDaily reports that major corporations that have donated to the Boy Scouts of America in recent years are largely remaining quiet ahead of the highly anticipated vote Wednesday on the organization’s policy, though some have made it clear their money will go only to groups that don’t “discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation,” including IBM, Levi Strauss and Company, J.P. Morgan, American Airlines, Medtronic, Portland General Gas and Electric, Hewlett Packard, Textron, Fleet Bank, CVS/Pharmacy Stores, and Carrier Corp. A major drop in corporate funding for the BSA came last September after a gay-rights blogger for the Huffington Post published a collaborative report that named the donors and chastised them for violating their own policy of not discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Since the September report, Intel, UPS and Merck are also among the corporations that have declared they have stopping funding the BSA. Facing pressure from its supporters and members, the Boy Scouts executive board announced Wednesday it is delaying a decision on lifting its prohibition of gay Scout leaders and members until May, when it will put the matter before its 1,400 voting members, Baptist Press reports.
- The Canadian Boy Scouts is warning the BSA of homosexual infiltration, reports lastresistance.com. In 1998, Canadian Scouts decided to allow females, atheists, agnostics, homosexuals, bisexuals, and transsexuals to join the CS. In 1999, they approved the establishment of an all-homosexual troop, which now marches in Canada’s gay-pride parades. Within five years, scouting membership dropped over 50 percent, many scouting camps and offices were closed, and staff was laid off. “The notion that we need to protect homosexuals more than we need to protect children . . . has been a disturbing trend,” said Brian Rushfeldt, president of Canada Family Action.
- A Muslim Brotherhood–linked organization has partnered with the U.S. Department of Education and the State Department to facilitate an online program aiming to connect all U.S. schools with classrooms abroad by 2016, reports WorldNetDaily. Vartan Gregorian, board member of Qatar Foundation International, was appointed in 2009 to President Obama’s White House Fellowships Commission. WND said that Gregorian served as a point man in granting $49.2 million in startup capital to an education-reform project founded by former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers and chaired by Obama. Documentation shows, according to WND, that Gregorian was central in Ayers’ recruitment of Obama to serve as the first chairman of the project, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge—a job in which Obama worked closely on a regular basis with Ayers. The Muslim Brotherhood’s infiltration of Washington, notes WND, is exposed in Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Infiltrate America. Obama also later said his job at the project qualified him to run for public office, WND reports.
- A pro-family group is urging people to thank Dodge for its two-minute ad that aired during this year’s Super Bowl, reports onenewsnow.com. Monica Cole, executive director of OneMillionMoms, says pictures like that of a praying family seated around a dinner table accompany audio from a recording of Paul Harvey’s “God made a farmer” tribute. So her group wants to thank the Chrysler Group LLC–owned company for taking a “bold stand and for openly sharing faith.” “OneMillionMoms.com contacted Dodge to thank them for their Super Bowl ad,” she reports. “It not only was a tribute to farmers, but it mentioned God several times and put a focus on faith and family.” The average cost of a 30-second ad in this year’s Super Bowl was $4 million, so the conservative group “wanted to let Dodge know that the money was well spent.”
- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that they have selected U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to deliver the Republican Address to the Nation following the president’s State of the Union address on Feb. 12, lifenews.com reports. Sen. Rubio, now in his third year in the U.S. Senate, has been a champion of growing the American middle class through limited government and free enterprise policies, making him a natural choice to outline why the Republican vision can help Americans rise above their current circumstances in the Obama economy. The address will be delivered in both English and Spanish.
- A lawsuit filed on Monday charges that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the former leader of the proposed “Ground Zero” mosque project in Manhattan, embezzled millions from his Muslim charity to spend on a sports car, vacations, and gifts for a lady friend, reports newsmax.com. The suit was filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan by Westchester, N.Y., businessman Robert Leslie Deak, a self-described Muslim convert who alleges that over several years, Rauf accepted $167,000 donated by Deak to combat anti-Muslim sentiment. That money was “utilized by Rauf for his personal use” along with his third wife, Daisy Khan, according to the suit. The spending was “not limited to a luxury sports car, personal real estate, entertainment, lavish trips and vacations with Evelyn Adorno and support of Evelyn Adorno, gifts and other personal uses,” the suit states.
- Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R-NE) recommendation by the Senate Armed Services Committee for Secretary of Defense to the Senate, via a vote, has been postponed and no new date for the vote has been given, reports freedompost.com. Apparently, recent audio has surfaced from a 2007 speech in which Hagel spoke to the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations and said that the U.S. needed to “reverse optics” in its relationship with Israel.
- The effort to destroy American patriotism has reached a new level at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colo. According to Principal Tom Lopez, the Pledge of Allegiance is recited at the school every Monday. A multicultural club at Rocky Mountain High School has been translating the Pledge of Allegiance into other languages including French and Spanish. The principal has allowed them to recite the foreign translations over the school’s PA system on occasion. However, the club then translated the Pledge into Arabic and in so doing, changed the ending to “one nation under Allah.” The principal approved of the translation and once again allowed the club members to recite the Arabic Pledge of Allegiance over the school’s PA system. It wasn’t long before complaints from parents and citizens in the area started to come in to Lopez’s office. Some of the complaints were lodged against the use of Arabic in general and others were lodged against the phrase “one nation under Allah.” Responded Francis Marion in lastresistance.com, “To allow students to recite America’s Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic offends me in two ways. First is the ‘one nation under Allah.’ Sorry folks, but Allah and the God of the Bible and our Founding Fathers are not the same thing. There are huge differences between the Muslim Allah and the Christian/Jewish God of the Bible. To change the Pledge to say Allah is offensive to me as a Christian and as an American. Second, there are millions of Arab Muslims that have vowed to see the United States destroyed or converted into an Islamic nation. They are working hard to make themselves appear like they are our friends, when in reality they want to change everything that is good and wholesome about America. Arab Muslims are already incorporating Sharia law into local governments and courts, especially in Dearborn and Detroit, Michigan. The Obama administration has also taken steps to make any anti-Muslim speech to be considered hate language, but no such measures have been taken when the speech is anti-Christian or anti-Jew, it’s just considered free speech.”