The CIA maintains a “Kill or Capture” list

Robert Morton
5 min readApr 15, 2021


The CIA’s “Kill or Capture” List

Yes, a “Kill or Capture” list does exist by the U.S. government. I remember, back in June of 2011, the number 12,000… that was the number of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters the U.S. military says it’s either killed or captured in the past year using a secretive program ramped up by Gen. David Petraeus. It’s led by a powerful military command few hear about, until Osama bin Laden was killed.

They’re known as “JSOC” — Joint Special Operations Command, and they report directly to the president. John Nagl, a former counterinsurgency adviser to then General Petraeus, described JSOC’s kill/capture campaign as “an almost industrial-scale counterterrorism killing machine.”

The kill/capture campaign that JSOC is executing targets enemies on a secret list called JPEL [Joint Prioritized Effects List], and my spy thriller novel MISSION OF VENGEANCE describes how it operates. The list includes terrorist bomb makers, commanders, financiers, people who coordinate the weapons transport and even PR people.

Anwar al-Awlaki was put on the JPEL. He played a key role in the global al Qaeda jihad movement and was killed by a U.S. drone attack. He was the “who’s who” of jihadi attackers against the West. His DVDs and taped sermons on jihad were found in the computers of the US army officer responsible for the Fort Hood shootings, Major Nidal Hassan; saved in the hard drives of underpants bomber Abdulmuttallab; and Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad. These DVDs and taped sermons are still used today to perpetuate hatred against the West, particularly the U.S.

It makes no difference to me whether or not an American is placed on the Kill or Capture list, depending on the circumstances, of course. I felt this way ever since meeting Charles “Charlie” Allen, the well-known counterterrorism expert, when he spoke at an Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) seminar in Tyson Corner, Va. in 2006. Allen warned us in a 45-minute lecture on how Americans become radicalized on the Internet.

Anwar Al-Awlaki, José Padilla, Adam Yahiye Gadahn, Bryant Neal Vinas, Ali Mohamed, Ziyad Khaleel, the Buffalo Six, and Wadih El-Hage were the initial radicalized American actors in Allen’s warning- the cast has since multiplied.
Spymaster Charles Allen also stated that Anwar al-Awlaki “targets US Muslims with radical online lectures that encourage terrorist attacks from his new home in Yemen.” Quoting Allen, Al-Awlaki snapped back in December 2008: “I would challenge him to come up with just one such lecture where I encourage ‘terrorist attacks.’”

Al-Awlaki’s retort was mendacious, indeed, for his call for violent jihad against Westerners turned up in the personal computer hard disc drives of many radical Islamists who have since been arrested or killed. An example is Cherif Kouachi, one of the two brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre. He told a French television journalist in a phone call before he died that he was acting on behalf of al-Qaida of Yemen. “I was sent- me, Cherif Kouachi- by al-Qaida of Yemen,” then he added, “I went out there and it was Anwar al-Awlaki who financed me.”
It’s apparent that Anwar al-Awlaki’s anti-Westerner murderous ideology still breathes in the mindsets of countless radical Islamists, and even though he has American citizenship, I’m glad he was put on the JPEL, “Kill or Capture” list.

Here’s a snippet from the MISSION OF VENGEANCE spy thriller, where CIA spymaster Corey Pearson carries out a JPEL order from POTUS:

Corey and Sweeney entered the room with the imam, his hands bound behind him with plastic handcuffs. After a quick peak under his door with the snake cam, Corey saw that he was unarmed so they broke down the door, threw in a flashbang, and cuffed him.

The SIM members picked a disoriented Mikati up off the floor and held his arms tightly while Chop-Chop frisked him for weapons and a possible detonator switch. He was clean.

Corey said, “Your Caribbean venture has failed.” He held up a photo card of Mikati with the letter “K” on it. “You know what the “K” stands for?” The terrorist tried to spit in Corey’s face, but the spymaster punched him in the face.

“The President of the United States ordered me to kill you and I will gladly do so. There’s another reason I’m going to kill you.”

Mikati smiled. “What’s that?”

“My brother, a Marine Lance Corporal Jeffrey Pearson, was on foot patrol in Syria when he stepped on one of your booby traps. You trained your Shia insurgent cells well in the art of making IED’s. It was filled with rusty sparkplugs, jagged chunks of scrap metal and motorcycle parts, at least that’s what they dug out of him. I visit him at the VA hospital. He’s recuperating from a pelvic fracture, leg and arm amputation and genital mutilation. He’ll never be able to have kids like he and his wife wanted.”

Mikati’s smile broadened. “You just made my day.”

Corey stuck his Glock in the terrorist’s face and held it there. “You are the stupid one who is ruining it for the oppressed Palestinian people. The majority of Americans feel Israel is not giving your people a fair deal, but when you slaughter the innocent, you turn them against you. You’re doing all this for your own personal power needs, not for the well-being of the Palestinian people.”

Mikati’s smile disappeared.

Corey shot him quickly in both lungs, then in the face. Standard JPEL protocol. A red mist of blood and brain fragments flew out the backside of Mikati’s head onto the console and wall behind it. Two large holes blew out each lung. Corey didn’t bother to see if he was still breathing; .45 hollow points are efficient man killers. Scratch another name off the JPEL… the president’s orders are being obeyed. End of novel snippet.

Lastly, view this video “Anwar Alwalaki Was On the CIA’s Kill or Capture List” to learn when and how the U.S. decides to kill someone.

Robert Morton is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), enjoys writing about the U.S. Intelligence Community, and relishes traveling to the Florida Keys and Key West, the Bahamas and Caribbean. He combines both passions in his Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster series. Check out his latest spy thriller: MISSION OF VENGEANCE.



Robert Morton

Spy thriller author, member of Association of Former Intelligence Officers, thrilling experiences await on my Author Site: