Thursday, March 7, 2013

Administration Won't Use Domestic Drones to Kill Americans, After All

It turns out that the administration won't use drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil after all, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney earlier today.  This seems a very strange thing to be relieved about, but this is the level of discussion after AG Eric Holder earlier this week suggested in a letter to Senator Rand Paul that there might be extraordinary circumstances when the White House could order such a strike.  Senator Paul then engaged in a 13-hour talking filibuster, holding up a vote on John Brennan to head the CIA, in protest.


In response to a question whether "the president has authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil," Carney simply said "No."  "The president has not and would not use drone strikes against American citizens on American soil," according to Carney.

Josh Gerstein at Politico posted the story here.


[Picture: Air Force]

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I don't understand the relief over Carney's position. He said only that POTUS "has not" and "would not" kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, not that he "could not" do so, which seems to me the only relevant question. If the executive _can_ do a thing, then shy demurral in the face of criticism just signals a reticient policy, not a constitutional bar.

Posted by: ORLY? | Mar 11, 2013 1:04:42 PM

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