Counter-terror chief defends targeting rebel US cleric

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 1, 2010 01:31

 
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ASPEN, Colorado — A top counter-terrorism official on Wednesday defended the government's right to target US citizens perceived as terror threats for capture or killing, citing the example of the renegade al-Qaida-linked cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, would not say whether al-Awlaki is on a US targeting list, but a senior US counterterrorism official has previously confirmed that the cleric is among terror targets sought to be captured or killed.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, Leiter justified the targeting with "all elements of US national power" those plotting to kill US citizens.

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