As a side note, I've been told that Dick Cheney argued against President Ford's signing the ban of political assassinations during 1976. What is noticeable with these various bans since 1976 are the exclusion of said ban(s) if the US is at wartime. Even if not at war with a particular country, the order of assassinations appears to still apply and are upheld under US law in other countries regardless the grey areas this may present. I suppose this situation boils down to the legal definition of wartime and to what extent our White House executive offices are legally allowed for exercising such orders with the use of military personnel for making (death squad) hits abroad.
I would be curious to hear what AG Holder and our Supreme Court Justices has to say about this. I highly doubt we'll hear anything from either on the subject.
UNLEASHING THE CIA: msg#00207 culture.discuss.cia-drugs
In 1976, President Ford attempted to curtail the power of the CIA by issuing a presidential order that stated: "No employee of the United States shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination." Two years later, President Carter strengthened Ford's order with another one which prohibited assassinations by the United States government. And on December 4, 1981 President Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 which was similar to Ford's decree: "No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassinations."
However, Reagan reversed his policy on November 13, 1984. A month before, the CIA had paid hit-men to kill a Muslim sheik named Fadallah. The car bomb exploded, killing 80 people, but Fadallah was not among the dead. At the same time, Reagan was losing support among members of Congress and the American people for the Contra war in Nicaragua. As a result, he canceled his executive order from three years earlier that had banned assassinations. On August 11, 1985 Reagan reinstated the "license to kill" clause after the hijacking of an American TWA plane that summer. However, pressured by members of Congress, Reagan issued a new executive order on May 12, 1986.
Less than a year into President Bush's administration, he issued a "memorandum of law" that allowed "accidental" killing if it was a byproduct of legal action. On October 14, 1989 the Los Angeles Times reported the memo. It read: "A decision by the President to employ overt military force ... Would not constitute assassination if United States forces were employed against combatant forces of another nation, a guerrilla force, or a terrorist or other organization whose actions pose a threat to the security of the United States."
I never know how much or what to believe with Hersh, but he's a damn fine storyteller.
He claims he will have evidence for the skeptical for his book. Until then, I don't think there is much to debate.
I do appreciate the link, however.