DENVER (AP) – Colorado’s Mark Udall and two other senators say the U.S. drone strike that killed an American-born al-Qaida leader in Yemen was legal.

Sens. Udall, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico said Tuesday Anwar al-Awlaki made himself a “legitimate target” by joining al-Qaida and help plan and carry out attacks on the U.S.

But the senators said the U.S. government needs to publicly state the rules for such strikes.

Al-Awlaki was killed in 2011. He had been linked to a 2009 attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner and a 2010 plot against cargo planes.

Udall, Wyden and Heinrich are Democrats and members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

They made their comments in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.

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