This is a rather terrifying article. As the title suggests, it’s about the NSC’s kill list, and the fact that Steven Bannon now has control over it.
The fact that the NSC has a kill list is bad enough. But now Bannon has a hold of it?
Things really do just keep getting worse…
While the United States and the world was in an uproar over Donald Trump’s executive order (EO) on immigration that even conservative sources view as unconstitutional and illegal, Trump reorganized the National Security Council (NSC), adding his chief strategist Steven Bannon and decreasing the participation and status of the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, currently General Joseph Dunford, as well as the director of national intelligence (DNI), a position that remains vacated until a Trump nominee, currently Dan Coats, can be confirmed.
Meanwhile, a specific and particularly terrifying possibility has been making the rounds on social media—that Bannon could have a role in a secretive NSC panel with the authority to place suspected terrorists, including Americans, on a kill or capture list and to make decisions to kill or capture without due process or any information or justification provided to the public.
And lest you think this sounds like a conspiracy theory… well… it isn’t…
This sounds like exactly the kind of conspiracy theory we debunk on this site, but the panel and the list do exist. Mark Hosenball wrote about it for Reuters in 2011, focusing on the killing by CIA drones of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American with alleged terrorist ties who was in Yemen at the time. Hosenball reported,
There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House’s National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.
A year later, Greg Miller at the Washington Post reported in more depth on the program, describing the list as part of a terrorist-targeting database referred to as the disposition matrix during the Obama administration.
The authorization for the panel and the targeted list is argued to be the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress after September 11, 2001 (PL 107-40), as well as international law allowing a country to take such steps in defense. This authorization has never been repealed, although many across the political spectrum have criticized its justification and use.
And so now Steven Bannon has access to this list and the ability to edit and add to it. And anyone can be put on the list.
Mallon lets you know what you can try to do about it:
What you can do
- Call your senators and representative and demand that they voice their opposition to Bannon’s appointment and immediately begin legislation to provide oversight of the disposition matrix and its use that is independent of the president while retaining the clearance necessary to review the materials.
- Insist that your senators not confirm any more cabinet nominees until this is taken care of.
- UPDATE: Insist that your representatives withhold consent on all business until this is addressed.
- Don’t let this fall through the cracks. Protest and keep following up with Congress until these problems are addressed.
Please read the whole thing. This is absolutely terrifying.