Why Imminence? The Assassinations Ban and that OLC Al-Aulaqi Memo

Some interesting speculation for the legal wonks:


But it occurs to me that there’s another dog that doesn’t bark in David Barron’s memo: The assassination ban in Executive Order 12333, which does not seem to be discussed at all in the unredacted parts of the memo. In this post, I want to take my speculation a step further, because I think the assassination ban offers a key—perhaps the key—to understanding the role of imminence in the administration’s legal views. That is, if my theory about whence imminence comes is correct, the assassination ban explains why the finding limits targeted killings to situations of continuing and imminent threat. And it likely explains a bunch of other things too–things that remain redacted in Barron’s memo.