Greenwald continues to push back:

  In a New York Times Op-Ed [Saturday], Yemen expert Gregory Johnsen explains why the depiction of Anwar al-Awlaki as some sort of dangerous, important Terrorist operative is pure fear-mongering fiction.  "Contrary to what the Obama administration would have you believe," he writes, "in truth Mr. Awlaki is hardly significant in terms of American security."  Moreover, "making a big deal of him now is backfiring." 

That last part about "backfiring" appears to be true in terms of Terrorism recruitment in Yemen, but "making a big deal of him" provides an important value to the administration:  that's how he's being exploited to entrench what even a Bush-43 federal judge recently described as the "extraordinary and unique" power of the President to order American citizens assassinated without due process.  That false depiction of Awlaki in turn causes far too many people who should know better to continue to cheer for that lawless power because they've become convinced -- by unchecked, unscrutinized, mostly anonymous, evidence-free government leaks -- that Awlaki is some sort of Threatening Terrorist Mastermind who deserves a presidentially-imposed death penalty:  the ultimate expression of acting as Judge, Jury and Executioner.

 

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