Re: On the Killing of Americans Who Join the Enemy

by Ed Whelan

I’m with Matt and David French on the substance (as well as with my Ethics and Public Policy Center colleague Pete Wehner on President Obama’s “moral preening and moral hypocrisy”).

I see that Daniel Foster, in the course of his very different take, wonders whether the undisclosed Office of Legal Counsel memo on which the Department of Justice’s “white paper” is based might offer more extensive legal support for the white paper’s conclusions. From my experience in OLC, I think that it’s a very safe bet that the answer to Daniel’s question is no. It’s highly likely that the white paper is little more than a copy-and-paste version of the OLC memo, with the identities of the author (presumably OLC head Virginia Seitz) and the recipient (probably Attorney General Eric Holder, but possibly White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler) removed. In particular, there would be no reason to leave out of the white paper any supporting legal arguments contained in the OLC memo.

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