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112th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     112-704

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DIRECTING THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES TO TRANSMIT TO THE 
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NOT LATER THAN 14 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THE 
 ADOPTION OF THIS RESOLUTION, ANY DOCUMENTS AND LEGAL MEMORANDA IN THE 
  ATTORNEY GENERAL'S POSSESSION RELATING TO THE PRACTICE OF TARGETED 
          KILLING OF UNITED STATES CITIZENS AND TARGETS ABROAD

                                _______
                                

 December 18, 2012.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Smith of Texas, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                             ADVERSE REPORT

                       [To accompany H. Res. 819]

                  [Including Committee Cost Estimate]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
resolution (H. Res. 819) directing the Attorney General of the 
United States to transmit to the House of Representatives, not 
later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this 
resolution, any documents and legal memoranda in the Attorney 
General's possession relating to the practice of targeted 
killing of United States citizens and targets abroad, having 
considered the same, reports unfavorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the resolution not be agreed to.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page

Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     3
Committee Consideration..........................................     3
Committee Votes..................................................     3
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     4
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     4
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     4
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     4
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     4

                          Purpose and Summary

    H. Res. 819, introduced by Rep. Kucinich, directs the 
Attorney General to transmit to the House of Representatives 
any documents and legal memoranda in the Attorney General's 
possession relating to the practice of targeted killing of 
United States citizens and targets abroad.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    Per the Rules of the House, a Member may address a 
resolution of inquiry ``to the head of an executive 
department.'' The resolution is privileged and may be 
considered at any time after it is properly reported or 
discharged from the committee(s) of jurisdiction. If the 
resolution is not reported to the House within 14 legislative 
days after its introduction, a motion to discharge the 
committee from its further consideration is privileged. Should 
the committee(s) of referral report within the 14 day period, 
only a designee of the committee can move to proceed to the 
consideration of the resolution on the floor.\1\
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    \1\See Rules of the House of Representatives, Rule XIII, Clause 7.
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    The Administration's targeted killing of terrorists abroad 
is a proper and important matter for Congressional oversight. 
But a resolution of inquiry is a rare procedure. More 
traditional paths of oversight have been yielding information 
about the Administration's targeted killing of U.S. citizen 
terrorists abroad. Because the Administration has not yet 
demonstrated the sort of obstruction in this matter that would 
warrant a resolution of inquiry, the resolution should be 
reported unfavorably.
    For example, ordinary oversight processes for keeping the 
House and Senate Intelligence Committees apprised of the 
targeted killing program appear to have been followed. Title 50 
requires the Director of National Intelligence and the heads of 
all departments, agencies, and entities of the United States 
Government involved in a covert action to furnish to the 
congressional intelligence committees any information or 
material concerning covert actions (including the legal basis 
under which the covert action is being or was conducted) which 
is in the possession, custody, or control of any department, 
agency, or entity of the United States Government and which is 
requested by either of the congressional intelligence 
committees.\2\
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    \2\See 50 USC 413b.
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    Additionally, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees 
continue to conduct robust oversight into the drone program 
that targets terrorists and their associates. As of June of 
this year, both Intelligence Committees conducted 28 monthly 
in-depth oversight meetings to review strike records and 
question every aspect of the program including legality, 
effectiveness, precision, foreign policy implications and the 
care that is taken to minimize noncombatant casualties.\3\
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    \3\Ken Dilanian, ``Congress zooms in on drone killings,'' Los 
Angeles Times, June 25, 2012.
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    Oversight of the program has also been ongoing, with some 
progress, on the Judiciary Committee. On December 4, 2012, 
Ranking Member Conyers (D-MI), Representative Nadler (D-NY), 
and Representative Scott (D-VA) sent a follow up letter to 
Attorney General Holder requesting additional information 
regarding the legal and factual justifications behind the use 
of targeted drone killings of both U.S. citizens and non-
citizens. This was a follow up letter from a May 21, 2012 
request in which they received some responsive documents, 
including a White Paper describing the legal rationale behind 
the al-Awlaki killing. The Department has not expressed an 
unwillingness to cooperate with the latest request.
    Administration officials have also disclosed their legal 
rationale for this program in public addresses. In an address 
to the Yale Law School, Department of Defense General Counsel 
Jeh Charles Johnson stated that belligerents who also happen to 
be U.S. citizens do not enjoy immunity where non-citizen 
belligerents are valid military objectives. He relied on 
principles from Ex Parte Quirin\4\ and Hamdi v. Rumsfeld\5\, 
which stated that ``[a] citizen, no less than an alien, can be 
`part of or supporting forces hostile to the United States or 
coalition partners' and `engaged in an armed conflict against 
the United States.''\6\
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    \4\317 U.S. 1 (1942).
    \5\542 U.S. 507 (2004).
    \6\Jeh Charles Johnson, (February 2012) Dean's Lecture at Yale Law 
School, New Haven, CT.
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    Finally, the Attorney General and others have addressed the 
legality of using targeted killings of U.S. citizens abroad. 
The Attorney General publicly stated that ``an operation using 
lethal force in a foreign country, targeted against a U.S. 
citizen who is a senior operational leader of al-Qaeda or 
associated forces, and who is actively engaged in planning to 
kill Americans, would be lawful at least in the following 
circumstances: first, the U.S. government has determined, after 
a thorough and careful review, that the individual poses an 
imminent threat of violent attack against the United States; 
second, capture is not feasible; and third, the operation would 
be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war 
principles.''\7\
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    \7\Eric Holder, (March 2012) Speech Before the Northwestern School 
of Law, Chicago, IL.
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                                Hearings

    No hearings were held in the Committee on H. Res. 819.

                        Committee Consideration

    On December 13, 2012 the Committee met in open session and 
ordered the resolution H. Res. 819 adversely reported without 
amendment, by voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that there 
were no recorded votes during the Committee's consideration of 
H. Res. 819.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

                        Committee Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee estimates that 
implementing the resolution would not result in any significant 
costs. The Congressional Budget Office did not provide a cost 
estimate for the resolution.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    Clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable, because H. Res. 819 does not 
authorize funding.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H. Res. 819 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of Rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    H. Res. 819 directs the Attorney General to transmit to the 
House of Representatives any documents and legal memoranda in 
the Attorney General's possession relating to the practice of 
targeted killing of United States citizens and targets abroad.