On August 23, I appeared as a guest on Hardball with Chris Matthews to discuss Reverend Pat Robertson's remarks calling for American covert operatives to assassinate Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. I am not a South American specialist - my comments focus on the use of assassination as a foreign policy tool.
Assassination has been against U.S. policy since it was specifically prohibited in an executive order signed by President Gerald Ford in 1976, again by executive order under President Jimmy Carter and then again with the current executive order in force EO 12333, singed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. The law not only prohibits the United States government from conducting assassinations, it also prohibits conspiring, supporting, assisting, etc, anyone else from doing it. Oft-heard remarks such as "we'll have the Israelis do it" are nonsense.
The names that usually come up when discussing assassination in this context are Saddam Husayn and Usamah Bin Ladin.
- Saddam Husayn
- Usamah Bin Ladin
For more on the Hardball segment: