Over at Lawfare blog, I have posted a longish essay on the proposition that as the US draws down its military forces in Afghanistan, the CIA should take on the lead security role in the country. The Lawfare post considers that proposition and asks what, as a corollary, needs to be articulated as the legal and legal-policy rationales for the CIA to act in these ways. In general, I think this is likely a good way to use the CIA – but for it to work over the long run that such an engagement will almost certainly represent (since one fundamental purpose is to ensure that Afghanistan does not return to becoming a staging area for transnational terrorist groups, which is not likely to stop being an issue any time soon), the US government needs to articulate the legal basis on which the CIA is able to use force and perform these functions. In my view these functions certainly are legal, but it is a problem that the government has not articulated its legal views on why that is so. (If you want to comment, comment away here at VC, but it would help to have read the Lawfare post.)
In a related development on targeted killing and Anwar Al-Awlaki, Robert Chesney notes:
In late January, Daniel Klaidman reported that the administration was inclined to have Attorney General Holder give a major speech specifying additional details regarding the legal framework governing the use of lethal force against Anwar al-Awlaki. That time has now arrived. DOJ released a statement last week indicating that the AG will give a major address on national security at Northwestern Law (congrats to NW’s new dean–and my former colleague–Dan Rodriguez for landing this rather big fish) at 3:30 central time this Monday (the 5th). Once the text is available, we will certainly have a link to it, and commentary [at Lawfare].