While much of the media has focused on the recent violence in Paris, Georgia, and San Bernardino, as well as the escalating conflicts in Iraq and Syria, another profound and troubling domestic issue seems to have been overlooked.
Indeed, the issue at hand was first reported on November 24th — and covered for roughly a day — before it was quickly forgotten in the daily barrage of news stories. But we should not be so quick to dismiss the possibility of a future president (maybe one with fascist leanings?) choosing to exercise “targeted killings” against the American public. This practice, of course, is embodied by the Obama administration’s program of assassinating individuals suspected of terrorism, also known as the “disposition matrix.”
The Washington Post first reported on the disposition matrix in 2012:
Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the ‘disposition matrix.’
The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the ‘disposition’ of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.
Although the matrix is a work in progress, the effort to create it reflects a reality setting in among the nation’s counterterrorism ranks: The United States’ conventional wars are winding down, but the government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.
For the last four years, New York Times journalist Charlie Savage has waged a legal battle against the Obama administration, seeking to reveal the government’s legal justifications for assassinating terror suspects without a trial. Specifically, Savage sued the Obama administration in an attempt to obtain details about the murder of al-Qaeda affiliated cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki was born in New Mexico and eventually found himself on the U.S. government’s radar under suspicion of terrorism.