Can the US government authorize an 'order to kill' on a US citizen? (We ask this question on legal grounds, since governments tend to do what they darn well please.) We'll soon find out as the Obama administration has issued an order to capture or kill radical muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

Unnamed officials quoted by the Reuters news agency confirmed the story, saying that Mr Awlaki had been placed on a "US target list" of people it had authorised to kill or capture.

The list, maintained by the CIA, is thought to be of people the US government believes are planning terrorist attacks against the US.

Because Mr Awlaki is an American citizen, his addition had to be approved by the US National Security Council, the paper reported.

"Awlaki knows what he's done, and he knows he won't be met with handshakes and flowers. None of this should surprise anyone," the New York Times quoted the official as saying.

SOURCE: BBC