30 Sep 2011

Jake Tapper vs. Jay Carney on President Killing U.S. Citizens

Big Brother, War on Terror 44 Comments

Really, stop what you are doing and just watch this. It’s short. Even though you know what the ultimate position is, try to forget that for a minute and listen with fresh ears. This is simply astounding.

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44 Responses to “Jake Tapper vs. Jay Carney on President Killing U.S. Citizens”

  1. Bob Roddis says:

    I’m astonished, but I don’t think anyone cares.

    O’Reilly loves it.


    I watch O’Reilly every night so the rest of you don’t have to. Which, of course, puts me in my usual calm and peaceful mood.

  2. Joseph Fetz says:


    Bob, thank you for posting this, I cannot believe that I just witnessed this exchange. Of course, we all knew when Obama’s executive order came out that it would ultimately come to this, but many doubted that it would actually happen- I didn’t.

    While the above press conference is quite illuminating from a philosophical standpoint, I fear that the grand majority of Americans will never see, and if they do, they won’t make the greater connection of what just happened (or, the tone of the exchange between Trapper and Carney).

    Unfortunately, the general public will not make any such connections until the assassinated American has a name more “common” to them. Somehow, I don’t think that we will have to wait terribly long for that occasion to come about.

    • ChasG42 says:

      It’s not a requirement that the commander in chief divulge any details about a military operation if in so doing reveals sources of intel on terrorists that would be lost when revealed. This is no less a war than the dozens of wars we have fought against pirates and privateers since this country was founded. Jake Tapper was being obnoxious and making a speech.

      • Bob Murphy says:

        ChasG42, okay, but you’ve just given the government a blank check to assassinate anyone it wants. If a drone blows up Justin Raimondo next week, and Jay Carney says, “We know he was plotting something, but we can’t show you the proof,” will you be suspicious at that point? Will it be obnoxious if some of us complain?

      • Trent says:

        So, since it’s a War on drugs, and ChasG42 is clearly (we have secret, demonstrable proof of this) on some good Government G-13, he gets blown up next.

  3. James E. Miller says:

    Why isn’t this being shown on the MSM? Oh wait, probably the same reason why Ron Paul is continually marginalized. Let’s see Paul Krugman pull another “9/11 blog post” to issue his outrage over this atrocity. Or am I that big of dreamer?

    • inspector FU says:

      Do you not see the ABC News in the lower left hand corner?

      • James E. Miller says:

        I see it, and I am impressed Tapper did this, but please show me where else this is being reported. Bob’s blog is the only place I have seen it thus far.

        • dub says:

          picked up by Glen Greenwald (including h/t to Professor Murphy)


          I hope GG comes by more often. He is devastating on foreign policy and civil liberties but when it comes to economics, he needs to be schooled in the Austrian Tradition.

  4. Laurie says:

    My initial reaction to this story that I’ve little followed was along the lines of – who cares, it is a war and people die. This clip persuaded me that demanding justification of this action from of the Obama administration and appropriate military or intelligence officials is important, especially for the precedent this sets or continues.

    • ChasG42 says:

      Not if it reveals military secrets. Jake Tapper wants the president to lay out all the details of what is an ongoing successful mission to take down the leadership of al Qaida and its spawns. Awlaki was on a “capture or kill” list for two years. He had ample opportunity to surrender to the US judicial system, but instead continued to openly broadcast to the world declaration of his Jihad on the US., urging other Muslims to join him. I wouldn’t lose sleep over this.

      • Matt says:

        What opportunity to surrender to the legal system? He’s never been charged with a crime. No evidence has been presented that he’s anything more than a propagandist. Speech, even treasonous speech, has been found to be protected by the first amendment by courts.

        He was a US citizen assassinated by his government without the due process promised in the Constitution. This diminishes us as a nation.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          And if he turned himself in, he would be tortured to get info on his colleagues. So that’s a sweet choice he had: Get life in prison (w/o ever being charged with anything) and be tortured for who knows how long, or get blown up by a drone. I hope he actually did the stuff they say he did. Otherwise this is kind of unfair.

      • Francois T says:

        You really got something of a fetishism about “military secrets” don’t you? The government does too…precisely thanks to people like you you are always willing to surrender high officials accountability and civil rights for the illusory benefit of being safe.

        BTW, how in the world can you be so trusting of ANY government that, on its mere say so, without providing ANY proof whatsoever, kill an American citizen without any due process of law? You scared of something? You want to BELIEVE instead of thinking?

        Well, here’s something you can believe: every society that has tolerated such behavior from their leaders ended up being a dictatorship. That is not a act of faith spawned by Dogma, but a historical fact that has been noted time and again.

        And yes! It could happen here.

      • JJ says:

        Actually, if you listen to Jake Tapper, Awlaki was denied access to the US judicial system – justice threw out the Awlaki’s father’s attempt to get heard.

      • Sam says:

        If you closely follow the entire interaction/conversation you would see that Jake Tapper did not exclusively ask for a public disclosure of information(and I agree with you that information of such a sensitive nature doesn’t have to public disclosed so as not to derail the operation). Tapper in fact asks if a at least judge was presented the material/facts……….get some sort of judicial oversight/approval that would then quench public fears about the use of use of such extraordinary powers by the President when dealing with American citizens!

  5. Kitty Antonik Wakfer says:

    It’s wonderful to have this on video – AND that a reporter finally came forward to ask really tough questions – so that everyone anywhere can see the audacity with which the US government treats the issue of killing human beings on the pretext of “stopping terrorism”, in this case even one who is/was a US citizen.

    And yes, where is the rest of the media coverage on this? And how many other reporters are just sitting back and accepting whatever the White House puts out?

    • Francois T says:

      I got a question for all the reporters that are sitting idle like passive jerks. This government just trampled the 4th Amendment in the most obvious way possible.

      Question: How long before they go after YOUR first Amendment as reporters? How much are you going to like it when YOU shall be the targets?

      How long before they go against the Second Amendment? Or any other amendment for that matter?

  6. Tim Sullivan says:

    Good questions and a great challenge to the Obama administration by Jake Tapper. Made Carney look like a fool. However, I wonder if that means Tapper will now soon go the way of Cenk Uyger, you know, for being too combative with those in power, and angering those “people in Washington” who may be concerned about his “tone”?

  7. mal fabian says:

    Naturally they can not provide proof to support their claims of his alleged crimes , they have none . They simply demonize anybody who challenges them , and after fabricating a excuse then used the fabricated case to justify killing anybody who in any way threatens to expose the REAL terrorists . If they did release their case to the public it could be picked apart by amateurs in minutes as a fabrication , so naturally they simply can not release their allegations , but we who can read , all know who the REAL terrorists are , in due time all the western taxpayers will also be forced to ask why their government needs ever more and more money to kill the people who dare tell the truth even when they know they will be murdered for doing so .

  8. TokyoTom says:

    Thx for posting this Bob.

    I see you’ve flushed out Glenn Greenwald as one of your readers.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      TokyoTom what do you mean about GG?

      • Bradley says:

        Bob, Greenwald linked to this post on Twitter.

  9. Anonymous says:

    My real question is why didn’t the other “journalist” on the room pressed Jay to elaborate on this point? Could they not see how important this issue is?

    PS: Jay Carney is a soulless corporate douchebag.

  10. CMarie says:

    Simply unbelievable. The rule of law in the U.S.A. has officially ended, ahe American public hasn’t noticed.

  11. Eric says:

    Why do you all continuously ask, “Where is the media coverage of this?”

    The media doesn’t cover these things for a reason. The media are shills for the government.

  12. Jack Dresser says:

    Is Jake Tapper stepping into the empty shoes of Helen Thomas? The next question to ask is how can any murder – whether the victim is American or not – be justified under either US or international law without due process? The “terrorists” striking back against US imperial genocide seem to harbor the delusional belief that their lives are just as valuable as ours.

  13. David Dickinson (@EveningStarNM) says:

    This is when things start to get scary: Even a Democratic president is asserting that he has the right to kill American citizens without due process of law.

  14. Speedmaster says:

    Chris that’s unsettling.

  15. tjzeke says:

    President Obama did the correct thing!

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Which you “know,” because President Obama told you he did the correct thing. You don’t know that this guy did anything except make videos, which is not a capital crime.

      • Speedmaster says:

        +1. The implications are chilling. And this is from an alleged Constitutional scholar and peace prize winner?

    • emmanuelle says:

      This is animal farm!
      Snowball did it says Napoleon, let’s kill snowball.
      Napoleon is always right. the US president is always right

  16. Lysander says:

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    Excerpt from the 5th Amendment to the Constitution for the United States for those of you who don’t know …

    “…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;…”

  17. Speedmaster says:

    Dr. Murphy, thanks for the heads-up on this video.

    Also, I posted about this story this morning, several other embedded topical links that might interest you: http://www.pretenseofknowledge.com/?p=9456

  18. Richard Moss says:

    Antiwar radio interviewed Glenn Greenwald about this case here;


  19. Aristos says:

    Unfortunately, most Americans cannot define “Due process.” Go figure that most Americans are educated on the government’s dime.

  20. Glide says:

    Obama has been sagging in the polls lately…he needed to boost his image so this was released to the press. Come people…can’t you see this is just another FALSE FLAG.

  21. Justin says:

    The commenters on this site appear no more interested in wrestling with the difficult question of al-Awlaki’s combatant status than my hope-and-change president.

    Assume al-Awlaki is dead. Assume he was killed by American ordnance.

    Now, had he been wearing the uniform of a state enemy on a battlefield, there’d be no question of the lawfulness of that killing, right? I mean, there’d be a moral question, sure, and a question of the justness of the war, but those aren’t legal — er, necessarily, constitutional — questions.

    Okay. So, al-Awlaki is not a member of the fighting forces of a nation-state. He’s a member of a non-state fighting force, which has declared “war” (of a sort) on the U.S. Is that a significant factor, which makes the lawfulness of his killing less tenable? If so, why? Why does nobody here care to address that point?

    I’m disappointed, to say the least, that this administration is unwilling to take the simple steps of sanitizing their core intel and laying out a one-page, white paper case for the targeted killing of this purported enemy. But my intellectual brothers and sisters on this page aren’t offering me encouragement, either.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Justin, did AA say anything that is qualitatively different from what a lot of people say on FB every day about Washington DC? (I haven’t watched his stuff, so I don’t know.) Can Obama blow up all those critics with drones?

  22. Albion Moon says:

    Thank you Jake Tapper!
    I am still in shock that this happened. What has happened to the US?

  23. BombVark says:

    Justin, of course there are constitutional questions about the war on “terror”. And on the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya etc.Being a “member” of a group that opposes US policy would hardly seem to be sufficient cause to kill someone. If AA did not have any operational control within a “terrorist” group than he was indeed killed for exercising his first Amendment rights, not so? We have no evidence of any such control. Distinctions must be made. I am a member of a society (US) that hasn’t declared wars against a wide range of nations and people but is conducting them anyways, am I fair game to be murdered? Were the thousands of Iraqi murdered by our sanctions pre invasion fair game?

    Of course, 4th generation warfare presents new challenges to our military and political classes. I would suggest you read William Lind. And really, what secret “intel” is being protected? Carney tries to imply that he won’t disclose any information about the actual murder, but that is not what we want to know. We want to know the whys not the how.

  24. N. Joseph Pots says:

    Bob, because of this incident, which I thank you for illuminating for us, I’ve sent money (for the first time) to the ACLU. I intend to keep doing so until either (a) the government stops doing this stuff; or (b) I run out of money.

    I still have a few million left. Any for you?