Blair said the comments were intended to "reassure" Americans that there was a "set of defined policy and legal procedures" in place and that such assassinations are always carried out by the book.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R - MI) inquired about the procedures involved, asking what the legal framework was under which Americans could be killed by the intelligence community.
Blair insisted that under no circumstances would Americans be assassinated overseas for criticizing the government, adding "we don't target people for free speech." Rather they are subject to assassination when the government decides they are a threat and when they "get specific permission." Exactly who was giving that permission was unclear.
The US has killed Americans in overseas attacks before, but only as "collateral damage." It has never admitted to explicitly assassinating an American citizen before. . .