The media are suddenly abuzz with reports that the CIA has been operating a secret airbase for unmanned drones in Saudi Arabia for the past two years, from which it has launched numerous strikes on purported militants of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in neighboring Yemen—including those that killed Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, both US citizens who had never been charged with any crimes by the US government. The relevation follows the leaking to NBC this week of a confidential Justice Department memo finding that the US can order the killing of its own citizens if they are believed to be "senior operational leaders" of al-Qaeda or "an associated force"—even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the US.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called on US President Barack Obama early on the morning after his re-election Nov. 7 to shut down the Guantánamo Bay military prison, even as it congratulated him on his victory. Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, urged Obama to "make good the promise he made four years ago to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay." He also encouraged Obama to put an end to practices such as warrantless surveillance, drone strikes and indefinite detention: