Ask the Experts: Do Targeted Killings Work?
Council on Foreign Relations - over 4 years
The United States did not always carry out targeted killings (or assassinations) of perceived national security threats. To the contrary, the norm against targeted killings outside of battlefield settings was established by President Gerald Ford in 1976, when he issued Executive Order 11905: “No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.” Until the late 1990s, U.S. targeted killings were officially proscribed and rarely seriously considered or authorized by senior officials.
When President Ronald Reagan was asked about the failed assassination attempt of Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah in Beirut in March 1985, for instance, he replied: “Never would I sign anything that would authorize an assassination. I never have, and I never will, and I didn’t.” Actually, Reagan signed a directive on November 13, 1984, that was interpreted as “truly a ‘license to kill’ provision.” Sixteen years later, U.S. ambassador to Israel Mar
Council on Foreign Relations article