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Arturo Jimenez-Bacardi

This chapter maps three distinct phases in the intermittent obsession with extra-judicial killings by the United States. First, is the lawless phase (1947–1974) where the CIA carried out a number of covert operations—including assassinations—that were either not vetted for their legality or were authorized despite their illegality. Second is the reform and caution phase (1975–2000) where a clear legal review process was created and limits on past behavior were established, including an assassinations ban. Finally, the secret law phase (2001–present) is a highly legalized secret process that has pushed the boundaries of legality and contracted rights.