Of the scores of people dubbed terrorists and taken out by American military drone strikes, three men — all killed in the fall of 2011 — were U.S. citizens.
And their lives illustrate the complexity of the issue, recently brought to light amid a newly discovered government memo that provides the legal reasoning behind drone strikes on Americans.
Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were killed by a missile strike in Yemen on Sept. 30, 2011, while al-Awlaki’s son, Abdulrahman, was killed in the country just weeks later.
Since the attacks, family members have called the deaths unjust and sued the U.S. government, calling the killings unconstitutional.
Anwar al-Awlaki, born in New Mexico, became well known for his fiery anti-American sermons posted throughout the Internet.
But the most controversial drone strike took place on Oct. 14, 2011, when 16-year-old Abdulrahman was killed by U.S. forces.