Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was born in Denver, Colorado and went to live with his grandfather in Yemen at the age of 7. His grandfather described him as “a typical teenager — he watched ‘The Simpsons,’ listened to Snoop Dogg, read ‘Harry Potter’ and had a Facebook page with many friends.”
Nasser al-Awlaki said his grandson, “had a mop of curly hair, glasses like me and a wide, goofy smile.”
Or at least he did until his government killed him.
Judge David Barron authored the memo that gave the legal justification for assassinating, without trial, American citizens suspected of terrorism. Abdulrahman’s father, Anwar al-Awlaki, was also a U.S. citizen killed weeks prior by an American drone.
Anwar al-Awlaki had a history of anti-American extremist activity. It is highly likely that he is every bit the terrorist he was accused of being and which made him a target. The recent debate over whether David Barron should be confirmed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals—the second highest court in the land—has largely centered on whether allegedly traitorous American citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki deserve due process.
That debate will, and must, continue.