Attorney General Eric Holder this week held out the possibility that the President could kill an American citizens with a drone attack on U.S. soil without any criminal charge or trial. After Holder announced President Obama’s kill list policy, many apologists for the Administration insisted that the policy was limited to targets outside of the United States and was subject to a form of due process of the President’s own making. At the time, I wrote that these arguments were nothing but spin by the Administration and its supporters since the underlying claim of authority would have no such limitations. Holder now appears to have confirmed that even they do not believe in such limitations. This follows the release of a memo showing that Holder’s description of the policy at Northwestern University Law School was narrower than the actual policy described within the Administration.
Holder was responding to a letter from Sen. Rand Paul concerning the nomination of CIA director John Brennan on the use of lethal force. Holder said “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.”
It will be difficult for people to find someway, as in the past, to blame this policy on Republicans. The kill list policy of Obama belongs to him. As I discussed in earlier columns (here and here and here), it is astonishing how citizens, including so many liberals and civil libertarians, have remained relatively silent in the face of a classic claim of authoritarian power. The relative silence over this latest development shows just how passive the country, and particularly liberals, have become in challenging Obama on his aggregation of executive power. It also is the latest evidence showing Obama’s evisceration of the civil liberties movement in this country. There is little observable movement left after it was divided over loyalty to Obama in the first term. A president has previously said that he can kill U.S. citizens on his own authority. It was then revealed that the citizen does not actually have to be involved in an imminent terrorism attack. Now he claims the right to use that authority in the U.S. The response at every stage has been a collective and prolonged yawn from a people growing comfortable with a burgeoning security state and an imperial president.
183 thoughts on “Holder Tells Senator That Obama Does Have Authority To Kill Citizens With Drones On U.S. Soil Without Criminal Charge or Conviction”
Malala is a victim of violence in Pakistan, having been attacked by religious fanatics opposed to her work. But Obama may not have expected her to speak up against other forms of violence in her country.
Malala recounted: “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education, it will make a big impact.”
President Obama may also have not expected most people to notice or care. The corporate media have virtually ignored this part of a widely-reported meeting. It’s up to us to surprise everyone with the depth of our interest and concern.
(Got this in an email but deleted it before saving the click)
Judge Challenges White House Claims on Authority in Drone Killings
WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Friday sharply and repeatedly challenged the Obama administration’s claim that courts have no power over targeted drone killings of American citizens overseas.
Yes, thanks, LJC. I hadn’t seen that. It’s disgusting and I’m ashamed of him! I’ll bet his daddy is too!
leejcarroll, Thanks for the update.
If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash, I don’t care if a Drone kills him or a policeman kills him,
Additionally, will they be targeting first responders with a second strike, like they do other places? If so, make sure that if innocent babies are collateral damage in one of the drone strikes at a particular area, that you do NOT go soft, and run over and try to staunch anyone’s bleeding to save the person’s life, or you are definitely in the line of fire from the next round!
Fascist Nation, you obviously are not very well read at all! You forgot weddings and funerals, now didn’t you!
If blaming the Republicans for everythint doesn’t get them voted out of office, Obummer can just call them a threat to the nation and drone them
Well when Obomba or his successor decides to kill some American on US soil, I hope he isn’t at the same BarBQue I am at or the same cafe I am at or on the same highway I am driving upon when it goes down as seems to be the modus operandi of government drone missions.
They have (the governents’ agents have) the right to kill someone by character assassination
Thanks for clarifying what I tried to say….
They have answered the question of whether they have (and this was TOTALLY specific in the answer as given in the article I read) the right to kill an American citizen on US soil by drone, and they said no.
HOWEVER! ”by drone” being the operative word here. They STILL have the right to kill an American citizen on American soil, say by gunshot or knife or hammer or death ray or whatever, as long as it is NOT a drone. Their NDAA gives them the right to do that. If the president thinks someone may be related to terrorism he has the right to off them plain and simple, as per the NDAA. But now with the caveat it may not happen by drone, as per Eric Holder.
Don’t get me wrong. I totally hate this drone BS. But the fact they still have the right to murder us as they see fit without due process is just as disturbing.
My feeling is with all the billions of hollow point ammo and the 2700 light armored military vehicles that have been ordered, they are definitely up to something that does not bode well for the American people. Do they just have these things laying around for safety’s sake? Seriously? Especially when they are ordering all this stuff when the economy is so horrible and they’re furloughing federal employees?
This all stinks to high heaven. They’re probably thrilled to have all the attention on the drones, and off the NDAA.
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