...is getting a nice coat of Vaseline. There are no set of circumstances in which the answer was "no" that would have sufficed...but still, the language used is squishy to say the least. Full article here. I would have been fine with "when an American has planned and executed attempts on the lives of other Americans, we consider him an enemy combatant, with all the ramifications inherent in that appellation".
"Some have called such operations 'assassinations.' They are not, and the use of that loaded term is misplaced. Assassinations are unlawful killings," Holder continued in his prepared remarks. "The U.S. government's use of lethal force in self defense against a leader of al Qaeda or an associated force who presents an imminent threat of violent attack would not be unlawful -- and therefore would not violate the Executive Order banning assassination or criminal statutes."