Project on Government Secrecy released a copy of a recent (January 5, 2012) update to the "Joint and National Intelligence Support to Military Operations" document on its site today. Though the document is primarily a bureacratic organizational description in words and org charts (plus a few self-promotional sidebars), an appendix including sample formats of activities and "link" charts includes a curiously named graphic in light of events in 2011 and the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.
The chart is entitled "Link Diagram" and includes at the highest level of the chart an OP-FOR (Opposing Force) activity labelled "assassination." It is the only use of the word in the entire document. The chart links from two operating cells (one for education, the other for information), through media, local businessmen, logistics, foreign businessmen, and a financier, culminating in the assassination. The appendices describe and illustrate Excel templates to assist in organizing and reporting.
A "Link Diagram" is described thus:
Link diagrams depict the linkages between interests or entities, individuals, events, organizations, or other interests or entities. Analysts use the link diagram to support investigative efforts in terrorism, CI, and criminal activity, and to graphically portray pertinent information from the association matrix and activities matrix, independently or synthesized. The link diagram format is the organization of symbols and rules. The link diagram displays known and suspected linkages. A solid figure represents known linkages. Suspected or weak linkages are dashed figures. Each individual and interest or entity is shown only once in a link diagram.
Joint and National Intelligence Support to Military Operations - Link Diagram by U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff
Given the single usage of the word within the document, it is possible the chart may have been placed there as a tasteless joke. Or perhaps it is a suggested slide for use as a template in documenting future operations.
Perhaps curiously, a search conducted at the defense.gov site brings no link to the document. FAS made no mention of the chart.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905
stating "Section 5 (g): Prohibition of Assassination. No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination." Subsequent to the 9/11 attacks, President GW Bush is said to have ordered lethal operations, allegedly in "self-defense" without first having rescinded the order. It is expected that the Obama administration will soon publicly present legal justification
for the 2011 assassination of U.S. citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and his sixteen year old son.
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