Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Paul's Filibuster and the Administration's Domestic Drone Authority

Senator Rand Paul started a talking filibuster today on the Senate floor, holding up John Brennan's nomination to head the CIA.  His problem?  The administration's use of drones.  In particular, a reply he received earlier this week from AG Holder in response to his question whether the government could use drones to target and kill U.S. citizens within the United States.  Here's Holder's answer:

The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no President will ever have to confront.  It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.  For example, the President could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances of a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001.

Were such an emergency to arise, I would examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the President on the scope of his authority.

Adam Serwer at Mother Jones was out front in reporting on AG Holder's letter.  Senator Paul's official web-site is posting his hour-by-hour comments on the floor.


Executive Authority, Fundamental Rights, News, War Powers | Permalink

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