08/07/2009 - Americans generally support allowing the Central Intelligence Agency to assassinate al Qaeda leaders, but opinions are more mixed about whether the CIA should have such a program without first informing Congress.
The most recent national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted July 22-26, 2009, finds that 60% favor "the CIA having a program that targets al Qaeda leaders for assassination," while 29% are opposed. But when a separate group of respondents was asked whether they favor the program without first informing Congress, opinion is more evenly divided (48% favor, 42% oppose).
CIA Director Leon Panetta halted such a program in June, though it had never become operational. The Bush administration reportedly started the initiative shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks but had kept it secret from Congress.
Read the full report Public Supports Targeting Al Qaeda Leaders, Wants Congress in the Loop on the Pew Research Center's Web site.