Almost two weeks after President Obama told Congress, "I've imposed prudent limits on the use of drones" ... (Via The White House)
"New reports the United States may target an American terror suspect with a drone attack. Officials say the suspect, a member of Al-Qaeda, is planning attacks on Americans overseas." (Via Fox News)
"No decision had been made, we are told. This is all being discussed at the highest levels of the national security community in the administration and military commanders." (Via CNN)
Still, the fact that there's a public discussion at all is unprecedented, as Slate's Joshua Keating notes.
Since the U.S. drone program was introduced in 2001, it's been shrouded in secrecy. (Via U.S. Defense Department)
The fatal U.S. drone attack on Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in 2011 drew attention to the program. Although he was the most prominent case, in total, four Americans have died from U.S. drones. (Via CBS)
In May, President Obama defended the use of drones while pledging more transparency. "We act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people, and when there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat." (Via The White House)
Still, as the The Guardian notes, the president was never entirely clear on the explicit legal justifications for drone strikes on Americans. As a human rights adviser to the United Nations told the paper, "Once again we are all left guessing."
If the new reports are true, this would likely be the first test of Obama's revised drone U.S. policy in which the Justice Department must approve who is added to the administration's kill list. (Via U.S. Defense Department)
Neither the White House nor the Justice Department have commented on these reports.