A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Friday against Obama administration officials that was brought by family members of U.S. citizens, including an al-Qaeda cleric, killed in drone attacks in Yemen.
District Judge Rosemary Collyer raised questions over the killings without due process during oral arguments last July, but ultimately ruled that the plaintiffs could not bring a case against individual officials.
The “defendants must be must be trusted and expected to act in accordance with the U.S. Constitution when they intentionally target a U.S. citizen abroad at the direction of the President and with the concurrence of Congress,” she wrote. “They cannot be held personally responsible in monetary damages for conducting war.”
A drone strike in Sept. 2011 killed U.S.-born al-Qaida head Anwar al-Awlaki and propagandist Samir Khan, and another one killed al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son a month later.
The lawsuit was filed against then-Defense Scretary Leon Panetta, then CIA-director David Petraeus and two Special Operations commanders by the father of the elder al-Awlaki and the mother of Khan.