An article published in The Guardian on Tuesday by journalist Glenn Greenwald painted an unsettling picture of the executive powers used by President Obama against American citizens during the War on Terror. In the piece, Greenwald wrote about the vast authority given to Obama by Department of Justice lawyers that allow the president to target Americans–specifically, individuals who may be connected to terrorist elements–for assassination, without having to charge them or offer due process of the law.
Greenwald’s piece is yet another example of how partisan lawyers have justified extraordinary and unprecedented measures used in the fight against terrorism since September 11. During the Bush administration, a highly controversial interpretation of Presidential authority was justified in the so-called “Torture Memos” written by law professor John Yoo. The end result of the memos found “enhanced interrogation techniques” to be legally permissible, especially during times of war. These memos were later repudiated by Obama, the background of which was depicted in this year’s historical drama, Zero Dark Thirty.
In this clip from The Federalist Society, Yoo and former Representative Bob Barr of Georgia debate how much executive power a president can exercise, especially during a time of war.