White paper putting forth the legal framework for drone strikes by the Obama administration
The paper states that the US government can kill its own citizens overseas if:
(1) An informed, high level-official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.
(2) Capture is infeasible, and the United States continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible; and
(3) the operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles.
It also has an interesting definition of 'imminence' as far as an attack goes;
As you can see from the paper, there's NBC watermarks all over it. I wonder what the reaction would have been had this been leaked from, say, Wikileaks' server instead. No classification info in the doc so can't be sure but I'm guessing it might have been slightly different."The condition that an operational leader present an 'imminent' threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons will take place in the immediate future,"