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American terror suspect possibly targeted for drone attack

  • FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2013 file photo, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. An American citizen who is a member of Al Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year. The CIA drones watching him cannot strike because he’s an American citizen and the Justice Department must build a case against him, a task it has not completed. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)The Associated Press

  • FILE - This June 18, 2013 file photo shows House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., listening to testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington. An American citizen who is a member of Al Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year. The CIA drones watching him cannot strike because he’s an American citizen and the Justice Department must build a case against him, a task it has not completed. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)The Associated Press

U.S. officials say the Obama administration is debating whether to kill by drone an American suspected of working with al-Qaida in planning attacks against Americans overseas and how to do so legally under its new, stricter targeting policy.

Four U.S. officials say the American suspected terrorist is in a country that prohibits U.S. military action on its soil. President Barack Obama's new policy says only the military, not the CIA, can kill American terror suspects overseas, creating a policy conundrum for the White House.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The Justice Department is also required to show that killing an American citizen through military action is "legal and constitutional" because he is considered an enemy combatant.