The CIA currently is operating in 134 countries where it is legal for them to carry out killings for the Executive Branch Recently an American journalist, Bilal Abdoul Kareem, allegedly, became a target for drone assassination by the Trump administration.
It became obvious that he was a target after 5 attacks by hellfire missiles in 5 separate locations so he and another gentleman decided to challenge their impending deaths in court. Based on the proceedings, Mr. Kareem was targeted primarily based on metadata showing that he was in a war zone, because he was a journalist, in areas where there were enemies of the United States.
It’s even possible that an algorithm made the entire decision and there wasn’t an appropriate process at the CIA to review who they were actually killing. Since everything is classified about the program-then we will never know-at least within the lifetime of the program and beyond.
Eventually, judge Rosmary Colyeer ruled on “Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan and Bilal Abdul Kareem v. Donald J. Trump et al.i. that , he[Bilal] as a US citizen has the right to due process before being added to the kill list and that he also has the right to challenge the killing because he claims his journalism activities got him on it. So essentially, he can’t challenge the fact that the CIA can kill people anywhere anytime but he could challenge being put on the list because of exercising his first amendment right as a journalist.
None of this mattered because the case was dismissed due to “state secrets privilege”. In the words of the court, “the relevant information is solely in the control of the United States and is protected by the state secrets privilege”ii.
If he wasn’t on the “Kill List” then the Defendant’s attorney would have argued that he was never on it and the judge would dismiss the case. However, the argument was that the Defendant CIA Director Gina Haspel cannot divulge state secrets, so if he weren’t on it then there wouldn’t be any secrets to divulge and no need for the argument.
So, in my opinion, he and any other journalist some CIA analyst doesn’t happen to like, could be killed at any time by any method as long as they are overseas and there is no legal framework to stop US journalists from being murdered by their own country.
Mr. Bilal continues his journalistic activities and has had other subsequent “adventures” fortunately not involving more US hellfire missiles.
i.) “Zadiden vs. Trump | Civil Action No. 17-581 (RMC) | D.D.C. | Judgment | Law | CaseMine”. www.casemine.com. Retrieved March 17th, 2020
ii.) “Kareem v. Haspel | Civil Action No. 17-581 (RMC) | D.D.C. | Judgment | Law | CaseMine”. www.casemine.com. Retrieved March 17th, 2020