||Astonishing exchange between Jake Trapper and Jay Carney on excusing President Obama's outright assassination of a U.S. citizen.
Q You said that Awlaki was demonstrably and provably involved in operations. Do you plan on demonstrating --
MR. CARNEY: I should step back. He is clearly -- I mean "provably" may be a legal term. I think it has been well established, and it has certainly been the position of this administration and the previous administration that he is a leader in -- was a leader in AQAP; that AQAP was a definite threat, was operational, planned and carried out terrorist attacks that, fortunately, did not succeed, but were extremely serious -- including the ones specifically that I mentioned, in terms of the would-be Christmas Day bombing in 2009 and the attempt to bomb numerous cargo planes headed for the United States. And he was obviously also an active recruiter of al Qaeda terrorists. So I don't think anybody in the field would dispute any of those assertions.
Q You don't think anybody else in the government would dispute that?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I wouldn’t know of any credible terrorist expert who would dispute the fact that he was a leader in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and that he was operationally involved in terrorist attacks against American interests and citizens.
Q Do you plan on bringing before the public any proof of these charges?
MR. CARNEY: Again, the question makes us -- has embedded within it assumptions about the circumstances of his death that I’m just not going to address.
Q How on earth does it have -- I really don't understand. How does -- he’s dead. You are asserting that he had operational control of the cargo plot and the Abdulmutallab plot. He’s now dead. Can you tell us, or the American people -- or has a judge been shown --
MR. CARNEY: Well, again, Jake, I’m not going to go any further than what I’ve said about the circumstances of his death and --
Q I don't even understand how they're tied.
MR. CARNEY: -- the case against him, which, again, you’re linking. And I think that --
Q You said that he was responsible for these things.
MR. CARNEY: Yes, but again --
Q Is there going to be any evidence presented?
MR. CARNEY: I don't have anything for you on that.
Q Do you not see at all -- does the administration not see at all how a President asserting that he has the right to kill an American citizen without due process, and that he’s not going to even explain why he thinks he has that right is troublesome to some people?
MR. CARNEY: I wasn’t aware of any of those things that you said actually happening. And again, I’m not going to address the circumstances of Awlaki’s death. I think, again, it is an important fact that this terrorist, who was actively plotting -- had plotted in the past, and was actively plotting to attack Americans and American interests, is dead. But I’m not going to -- from any angle -- discuss the circumstances of his death.
Q Do you know that the Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU tried to get permission to represent Awlaki? And his father had asked them to do that. But they needed to get permission from the Treasury Department so that they could challenge his being on this targeted killing list. And the administration, the Obama administration refused to let them represent him, to not even -- he couldn't even have the ACLU representing him.
MR. CARNEY: Well, I would send those questions, or take those questions to Treasury or Justice. I don't have anything on that for you.
Q What do you think constitutional law professor Barack Obama would make of this?
MR. CARNEY: I think he spoke about it today.
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