The father of the Internet's most famous radical cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, is planning to sue the U.S. government for including his son on a CIA target list.
Nasser al-Awlaki hired the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights last month to file a lawsuit that would question whether his American-born son can be on the CIA's "capture or kill" list. A lawsuit ultimately could seek an injunction to get him removed from the list. That lawsuit hasn't been filed. But it would mark the first legal challenge to the military and CIA target lists.
"This represents a new kind of challenge to American counter-terrorism," said Sam Rascoff, a New York University law professor. "Previous lawsuits have focused mainly on the government's power to detain, interrogate and gather intelligence on individuals as part of the so-called 'war on terror.' Now, for the first time, the government's authority to kill one of its own citizens is in question."
Anwar al-Awlaki is thought to be a senior operative for al-Qaida's arm in Yemen, and he has been linked to both the Fort Hood shootings last November and an attempted bombing on a U.S. airliner on Christmas day.
NPR reported last week that Awlaki's father had been in contact with lawyers in the United States to file the lawsuit.