Officials: Secret panel decided on Awlaki killing

A secretive panel of government officials places American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki on a kill or capture list before informing President Obama of such decisions, according to a Reuters report, which cites "several current and former officials."

The panel, a subset of the White House's National Security Council, made the decision to target Awlaki, the U.S.-born radical cleric with alleged al-Qaida ties, who was killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen last month.

There is neither a public record of nor any law governing the panel's decisions, according to officials. In addition, the role of the president in ordering or endorsing is also unknown, according to the Reuters report.

Officials told Reuters that Awlaki had been the only American put on a government list targeting people for capture or death due to their alleged involvement with militants.

The process that led to Awlaki's death has been questioned by critics who say that there was no due process in his targeted killing, and have wondered whether Obama is now embracing the policies of George W. Bush that he denounced when he was running for office.

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