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CIA can kill citizens aiding al-Qaida

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 4, 2002

WASHINGTON -- American citizens working for al-Qaida overseas can legally be targeted and killed by the CIA under President Bush's rules for the war on terrorism, U.S. officials say.

The authority to kill U.S. citizens is granted under a secret finding signed by the president after the Sept. 11 attacks that directs the CIA to covertly attack al-Qaida anywhere in the world. The authority makes no exception for Americans, so permission to strike them is understood rather than specifically described, officials said.

These officials said the authority will be used only when other options are unavailable. Military-like strikes will take place only when law enforcement and internal security efforts by allied foreign countries fail, the officials said.

U.S. officials say few Americans are working with al-Qaida but they have no specific estimates.

The CIA already has killed one American under this authority, although U.S. officials maintain he wasn't the target.

On Nov. 3, a CIA-operated Predator drone fired a missile that destroyed a carload of suspected al-Qaida operatives in Yemen. But the CIA didn't know a U.S. citizen, Yemeni-American Kamal Derwish, was in the car. He died, along with five other Yemenis.

Travelers still carrying forbidden items to airports

WASHINGTON -- Some passengers still haven't gotten the word about what they can and can't take on planes. Seized at airports during the Thanksgiving crush: 15,982 pocket knives, 98 boxcutters, six guns and a brick.

Still, transportation officials said the airport chaos predicted by many never occurred. Passengers waited less than 10 minutes on average at security checkpoints during the first holiday travel season since an all-federal work force took over screening.

Robert Johnson, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, said many holiday travelers are inexperienced fliers and don't realize they can't take knives, scissors, fireworks or ammunition onto planes.

Author of controversial 9/11 book plans U.S. tour

NEW YORK -- A French author who suggests that the Sept. 11 attacks were devised by a faction of the U.S. military is planning to promote his book on a tour that will begin in New York City.

Thierry Meyssan's book, 9-11, The Big Lie, also suggests that the Pentagon was hit by an American missile, and not a hijacked airliner.

USA Books, a subsidiary of the book's French publisher, said he could launch the tour as early as this month. The dates have not been set but the publicity blitz is likely to include interviews with several major TV news shows that have expressed interest.

In the book, the left-wing author suggests that the attacks were plotted to promote a U.S. military agenda that included waging war in Afghanistan. The French press ridiculed the book, but it became a bestseller in France for three months. The English version has not seen the same success.

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