At the time, I told you that al-Awlaki was a U.S. Citizen, born in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Al-Alwaki lived in the U.S. until he was seven year old. His family then returned to their home country of Yemen.
Al-Alwaki was the head of Al-Qaeda in Yemen and after the death of Osama bin Laden, al-Awlaki was the most influential leader in Al Qaeda.
U.S. intelligence say that he was the one who influenced the Ft. Hood shooter, Major Nadal Hasan. They also say he influenced the wanna-be Christmas Day underwear bomber.
And the foiled Times Square bomber last year, also reportedly influenced by al-Awlaki.
The one problem with all of this, Anwar al-Awlaki was, until his death Friday, was a United States citizen. And killed with him during that bombing a second U.S. citizen who published a jihad newsletter.
It is true that both men could be regarded as enemies of the United States. But does the government deciding you are an "enemy of the state" mean that your rights under the constitution are suspended?
Neither of these men were killed on a battlefield. As U.S. citizens, they were not charged with any crimes. They were not indicted by a grand jury. They were not given a military tribunal.
Instead, the President ordered their deaths without any due process. That due process is not just some good idea. It is the very structure of our constitution.
This targeted assassination program started under President Bush and has greatly expanded under the Obama administration.
Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul is one of the lone voices challenging this action. Hinting to the fact that the President ordering the death of any American citizen violates that constitution and could be an impeachable offense.
Paul by the way also acknowledged there wouldn't be support for that kind of action in the U.S. Senate.
Here's what you need to know.
The Ft. Hood shooter, Major Nadal Hasan is a U.S. Citizen. He actually shot and killed people in cold blood but wasn't executed. He gets a trial.
The man who influenced him, also a U.S. citizen is killed without due process, simply by order of the President and because the information against him is classified no one, not even U.S. courts can see the evidence of why he had to be killed.
This issue isn't about Anwar al-Awlaki. It's not about President Bush. It's not about President Obama.
It Is about a nation's constitution that keeps that kind of power out of the hands of one man, for a reason.