A California congressman is preparing legislation to repeal the post-9/11 legislation that two presidents have relied on as justification for waging war in several countries simultaneously against persons or organizations believed to be involved in terrorist attacks or the planning of them. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.; pictured) told Spencer Ackerman of Wired that he plans to introduce a bill to "sunset" the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed by nearly unanimous votes in Congress on September 18, 2001, just one week after terrorists flew hijacked airplanes into the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
"The current AUMF is outdated and straining at the edges to justify the use of force outside the war theater," Schiff told Wired magazine, an online journal on trends in technology. The publication also reports extensively on politics, especially on issues affecting electronic privacy. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have relied on the Joint Resolution as authority for "everything from the warrantless electronic surveillance of American citizens to drone strikes against al-Qaida offshoots that did not exist on 9/11," Wired noted.
The resolution has also been interpreted to authorize the targeted killing of alleged terrorists, including U.S. citizens in foreign lands abroad who are actively engaged plotting terrorist attacks on the United States. In his speech at the National Defense University May 23, Obama said that to capture such individuals and put them on trial is not always feasible. He described as necessary the September 2011 killing by drone strike of the American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, whom he identified as the chief of external operations for al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula. Al-Awlaki helped oversee a plot to bomb two U.S-bound cargo planes in 2010 and was behind a foiled attempt to detonate explosives aboard a plane when it was landing in Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009, Obama said.
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Photo of Rep. Adam Schiff: AP Images