If the plotters of the Sept. 11 attacks are in the government's sights, Obama went on, they should be targeted and killed.
"My position has always been clear: If you've got a terrorist, take him out," Obama said. "Anybody who was involved in 9/11, take 'em out."
But Obama, who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago for more than a decade, said captured suspects deserve to file writs of habeus corpus.
Calling it "the foundation of Anglo-American law," he said the principle "says very simply: If the government grabs you, then you have the right to at least ask, 'Why was I grabbed?' And say, 'Maybe you've got the wrong person.'"
The safeguard is essential, Obama continued, "because we don't always have the right person."
So extrajudicial executions are fine, but once you captured them, then the rights are essential because "you might not have the right person". What if you kill someone who is not the right person?