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CRS Report: Assasination Ban and E.O. 12333

January 4, 2002


In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the New York World
Trade Center and the Pentagon, some attention has been focused upon the assassination
ban contained in Executive Order (E.O.) 12333, Section 2.11, and whether it would
prohibit the United States from responding to the attacks by targeting those who
orchestrated these acts of terrorism. In considering the challenges involved in effectively
combating terrorism and protecting the United States from future terrorist attacks, there
has been wide-ranging debate as to what approaches might be beneficial. Part of that
discussion has centered around whether assassination of terrorist leaders is, or should be,
one of the options available. This report offers a summary discussion of the assassination
ban in E.O. 12333, its context, and possible interpretations of its scope.

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