USA Today reports:
President Obama plans to nominate former Pentagon attorney Jeh Johnson as the next secretary of homeland security, officials said Thursday.
Johnson is a supporter of assassinations… even against American citizens.
AP noted in 2011:
U.S. citizens are legitimate military targets when they take up arms with al-Qaida, top national security lawyers in the Obama administration said Thursday.
The government lawyers, CIA counsel Stephen Preston and Pentagon counsel Jeh Johnson … said U.S. citizens do not have immunity when they are at war with the United States.
Johnson said only the executive branch, not the courts, is equipped to make military battlefield targeting decisions about who qualifies as an enemy.
The New York Times noted:
“Belligerents who also happen to be U.S. citizens do not enjoy immunity where non-citizen belligerents are valid military objectives,” said Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Department general counsel, in a speech at Yale Law School.
Still, Mr. Johnson invoked a lawsuit filed by Mr. Awlaki’s father before the killing that had sought an injunction against targeting his son, citing with approval a district judge’s decision to dismiss the case and saying that targeting decisions are not suited to court review because they must be made quickly and based on fast-evolving intelligence.
“The legal point is important because, in fact, over the last 10 years Al Qaeda has not only become more decentralized, it has also, for the most part, migrated away from Afghanistan to other places where it can find safe haven,” Mr. Johnson said.
This is particularly concerning since the U.S. wants to expand the assassination program to cover “ASSOCIATES of ASSOCIATES” of Al Qaeda … and blurs the lines between bad guys and average Americans. This violates a little thing called the Fifth Amendment.
The Washington Post points out:
[A senior administration official] added that Johnson was “responsible for the prior legal review and approval of every military operation approved by the president and secretary of defense” during Obama’s first term.
That presumably includes supporting Al Qaeda in Libya.
Wikipedia notes more unsavory aspects of Johnson’s background:
As General Counsel of the Defense Department, Johnson was a major player in certain key priorities of the Obama Administration, and he is considered one of the legal architects of the U.S. military’s current counter-terrorism policies.
In August, 2010, Johnson was part of the public dialogue over the Wikileaks release of classified Pentagon documents known as the Afghan War Diary or The War Logs. “The Department of Defense will not negotiate some ‘minimized’ or ‘sanitized’ version of a release by WikiLeaks of additional U.S. government classified documents,” he wrote in a letter to Timothy J. Matusheski, a lawyer representing the online whistle-blowing organization pro bono. In August 2012, Johnson also wrote to the former Navy seal who authored the book “No Easy Day” and warned him of his material breach of his non-disclosure agreements with the Department of Defense.
In January 2011, Johnson provoked controversy when, according to a Department of Defense news story, he asserted in a speech at the Pentagon that deceased civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. would have supported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite King’s outspoken opposition to American interventionism during his lifetime…. Jeremy Scahill called Johnson’s remarks “one of the most despicable attempts at revisionist use of Martin Luther King Jr. I’ve ever seen,” while Justin Elliott of Salon.com argued that based on Dr. King’s opposition to the Vietnam War, he would likely have opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the covert wars in Pakistan and Yemen.
In a February 2011, speech to the New York City Bar Association, Johnson “acknowledged the concerns raised” about the detention of alleged WikiLeaks source Private Bradley Manning and “stated that he had personally traveled to Quantico to conduct an investigation.” Human rights attorney and journalist Scott Horton wrote that “Johnson was remarkably unforthcoming about what he discovered and what conclusions he drew from his visit.”