WASHINGTON - The United States is considering lethal force against an American citizen overseas who has allegedly been working with al Qaeda, according to a media report.

Citing US officials, The Washington Post said that no decision has been reached on whether to add the alleged operative to the administration’s kill list, a step that would require Justice Department approval under new counterterrorism guidelines adopted by President Barack Obama last year. The officials said the man, who has not been identified, has been responsible for coordinating attacks against American targets overseas, and he continues to plan more.

But the Post sought to turn the focus on what it called al-Qaeda’s core group in Pakistan, saying it is closely tied to militant organizations that have carried out cross-border assaults against US forces in Afghanistan.  The CIA has carried out hundreds of strikes against the groups in Pakistan. That core group is known to include at least one American, Adam Gadahn, according to the Post. At the same time, it said, he is widely considered a spokesman and media figure for al-Qaeda, not an operative whom US officials have placed on the target list.  The report comes just days after the newspaper reported the administration has sharply reduced drone strikes in Pakistan.

One senior official, however, rejected the report’s claim that the administration changed its drone strategy to help the ongoing peace negotiations between the Pakistani government And theb Taliban. 

The Post said the issue of the unidentified operative poses a problem for the White House, which last year acknowledged that four US citizens had been killed in drone strikes during Obama’s presidency. Only one of those - Anwar al-Awlaki, a senior member of al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen - had been intentionally targeted.

The Obama administration is weighing whether to approve a lethal strike against a US citizen who is accused of being part of the al-Qaeda terrorist network overseas and involved in ongoing plotting  against American targets, US officials said.