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Jon Stewart Slams Obama Over Drone Strike Memo

Posted on Feb 7, 2013

On “The Daily Show” on Wednesday night, Jon Stewart criticized President Obama for the government document recently obtained by NBC News that details the administration’s legal argument for supporting drone strikes on suspected al-Qaida members, including those who are U.S. citizens.

According to the Department of Justice’s classified memo, the U.S. can legally target its own citizens, without due process or a trial, if the people are believed to be affiliated with al-Qaida or if the government suspects they “present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States.”

As Stewart pointed out, what constitutes an “imminent threat” is not exactly well defined.

“So ‘imminent threat,’ in other words, imminent or not imminent,” he said. “Broadly speaking, imminent in the geological sense. So, wait, we can kill an American who is in al-Qaida or al-Qaida adjacent if they pose an imminent danger, and by ‘imminent’ we mean eventual?”

The comedian also ripped the Obama administration for its lack of transparency in not making the memos publicly available and called out the left for its hypocrisy over the matter. Stewart noted that during George W. Bush’s presidency, Democrats, including then-Sen. Joe Biden, urged the administration to release memos detailing the legal grounds for torturing suspected terrorists. That information was released only when President Obama took office.


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“We don’t mind you knowing about shit that we do, once we don’t do it anymore,” Stewart chided. “We’re happy to share irrelevant information with the public. We told you we were going to be transparent, we just didn’t tell you it was going to be about the last guy’s secrets.”

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