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Obama hears the Newtown news from John Brennan
President Obama with John Brennan discussing the Newtown shootings.
In a few minutes, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will begin its confirmation hearings on John Brennan, the White House's counterterrorism adviser, who has been nominated to be the next chief of the Central Intelligence Agency. You can watch here. We can once again expect more questions on Benghazi even though you would think Republicans would be a bit cautious in that sphere after Hillary Clinton handed them their asses in her recent testimony on that.

Given the furor over the Obama administration's policy of targeted killings by drone aircraft, fired up this week by the leaking of a secret 16-page white-paper memo summarizing legal arguments justifying those killings, there may be some tough questions on that subject for Brennan. But SSCI has hardly been critical of the administration's drone policy. And, on those few occasions when it occurs, discussing covert policy in public is always complicated by the fact that senators must avoid revealing what they actually know from the classified information they have received and are hampered by the fact that they haven't seen a lot of classified information that would make their questions more to the point.

All this makes these affairs somewhat unsatisfactory from the get-go. Since Brennan almost certainly will be approved for the post, the questioning might be considered not all that useful anyway.

There was some progress this week. After years of refusing to confirm or deny to inquiring senators that it had documents relating to legal justification for its targeted killings, the Obama administration on Wednesday night told Sen. Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat, that it would now release such documents to members of two congressional committees. Whether this move will soften the questions that might have been asked today is anybody's guess.

Marcy Wheeler, who has diligently followed intelligence matters for years, has five questions she thinks ought to be asked. She's not a senator, which is a pity, so she doesn't have to be diplomatic. Head below the fold to see those five questions.

1) Do you plan to continue lying to Americans?

You have made a number of demonstrable lies to the American people, particularly regarding the drone program and the Osama bin Laden raid. Most egregiously in 2011, you claimed “there hasn’t been a single collateral death” in almost a year from drone strikes; when challenged, you revised that by saying, “the U.S. government has not found credible evidence of collateral deaths,” even in spite of a particularly egregious case of civilian deaths just months earlier. On what basis did you make these assertions? What definition of civilian were you using in each assertion? [...]

2) What was the intelligence supporting the first attempt to kill Anwar al-Awlaki?[...]

3) Will your close friendships with Saudis cloud your focus on the US interest?[...]

4) What role did you have in Bush’s illegal wiretap program? [...]

5) Did you help CIA bypass prohibitions on spying domestically with the NYPD intelligence (and other) programs?

In your additional prehearing questions, you admit to knowing about CIA’s role in setting up an intelligence program that profiled Muslims in New York City. What was your role in setting up the program? As someone with key oversight over personnel matters at the time, did you arrange Larry Sanchez’ temporary duty at the NYPD or CIA training for NYPD detectives?

Have you been involved in any similar effort to use CIA resources to conduct domestic spying on communities of faith? You said the CIA provides (among other things) expertise to local groups spying on Americans. How is this not a violation of the prohibition on CIA spying on Americans?

To these I would add:

• Since the administration has claimed it has constitutional powers that authorize it to engage in these targeted killings, what will it take to bring the "global war on terror" to a conclusion?

• Is the drone policy with its inevitable killing of civilians, including children, making the terrorist situation worse rather than better, extending that war rather than shortening it?

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:14 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What will it take? Is the most important question (12+ / 0-)

    It's great to look back at decisions and ask where/when/why.   But the most important question for the incoming head of the CIA is going to be:

    What will it take to declare "victory?"  

    And, hand in hand with that:

    How do we define "victory" and "peace".

    Because how we define peacetime and victory are going to be crucial if we want to get away from the permanent ongoing debate over the extent we want involvement on these issues.

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:21:10 AM PST

  •  live feed? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, shaharazade, Eric Nelson

    I've been looking for a feed; anyone have one?

  •  Ooh protesters (7+ / 0-)

    Getting kicked out before the hearing even begins, nicely done.

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:28:41 AM PST

  •  I like #6 (15+ / 0-)

    When will we win the GWOT? Who will surrender on behalf of terror, and on what terms?

    If we can't know we've won, then when will the President's extraordinary "wartime" powers end?

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:30:32 AM PST

  •  How bout, "Do you continue to kill Americans?" (14+ / 0-)

    And/or, "To your knowledge, is America still a party to the Geneva Conventions?"

    (To be fair to the guy, he may never have heard of them.)

    Or the always popular, "Do you know that many of your activities can be considered War Crimes?"

    That this guy would occupy a high position in the American government (and be appointed by a Democrat) is depressing, scary, and disgraceful all at once.

    Perhaps somebody could just ask him, "Is America now essentially a Police State?"

    •  Variation: How does it FEEL to kill Americans (9+ / 0-)

      without due process of law?  Does it make your winkie stiff?

      I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

      by bobdevo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:36:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The same question should be asked of the president (3+ / 0-)

        Your first question, I mean.

        The wisdom of my forebears ... Two wise people will never agree. Man begins in dust and ends in dust — meanwhile it's good to drink some vodka. A man studies until he's seventy and dies a fool.

        by Not A Bot on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:53:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thought of the same question! (0+ / 0-)

          Actually ask these guys how it feels to be one of the people who brought the United States to the point of concocting a theory that it is Constitutional to openly assassinate citizens.  Without trials.  

          Ask them how this pushes the principals of America forward into the new century, and how it helps the world's arc towards democracy, peace, and justice for all?  

          Even if killing "potential" murderers saves some "innocent" lives (i.e. American soldiers stationed in OTHER people's countries) how is that really making our entire nation a "better" place for the people who live here, and our future generations?

      •  Hmm...that's an interesting one (0+ / 0-)

        But I think the case for the killing of American's stems from their active plotting of violence against the US or allies. In other words, I think it would be a legitimate question to ask what the definition is of "imminent". However, does one wait for a bomb to be constructed but not shipped to the target site? Or does it have to be placed at the target site? Or, is it justifiable to eliminate the person/target if the plans for all of this have been revealed?

        I think its a slippery slope either way. But I think if the US government knows of an individual who is openly or covertly plotting acts of violence against the US - an the opportunity presents itself to take him/her out - then I'm not sure what the problem is?

        As far as due process necessity. Based on what? Are you talking about all drone strike targets or just Americans. Again, if the US knows that this person is plotting violence against it, what will "due process" serve? To know the reasoning behind it?

        The questions that should really be asked are the decisions behind why a person is targeted for a strike and what the process is behind it. Not the strike itself. If the intelligence is good, then I believe the targeting of such persons is legitimate.

        •  Due process (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, joanneleon, recontext

          I'm only concerned with due process for American citizens, mainly because persons who are not citizens and are not inside the US or its territories have no constitutional right to 5th Amendment protection.

          American citizens, on the other hand, are protected with respect to the actions of the US government anywhere on the planet.

          So all I'm asking for is that some office of the Judicial Branch must review the evidence before the Executive Branch may summarily execute said American citizen.

          I mean, seriously, if they have the goods on the guy, a Federal judge is not going to duck the issue any more than the FISA court ever did, OKing more than 99.5% of all wiretapping applications.

          My problem is while I might trust Obama (which I certainly don't 100%), I really, really, really do not want Jeb Bush or Sarah Palin or Paul Ryan to have the power to assassinate American citizens without judicial oversight.  And any one who would want to give right wing crackpots that power is CRAZY!

          I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

          by bobdevo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:21:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you're probably right. (0+ / 0-)

            Certainly for Americans its a due process right and they should be afforded it if possible. If not, then the threshold needs to be greater for any consideration of taking out an American citizen.

        •  Plotting? Violence? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wasatch, 3goldens, shaharazade, joanneleon

          We can't even control gangs plotting to do violence in Chicago yet we claim the right to kill anyone on earth if they are plotting violence?  

          Our hubris is boundless.  This will end badly sooner or later.

          •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

            It's ridiculous on it's face.  It was the same tortured "logic" that allowed Bushco to justify an attack a sovereign nation (Iraq) which had not actually threatened us in any way.

            If we just killed all males between ages 11 and 30 we'd save a lot of crime and violence too.  Seriously.  And we might want to sterilize all poor women while we're at it.  Think of the lives we'd save!  

            The Constitution DEMANDS speedy open trials (by our peers) before you execute people, just so this sort of creeping lawless totalitarianism will never be able to develop.  

            Oops.

          •  We can't stop it because.... (0+ / 0-)

            we're not surveilling them like we are these terror networks or other points of contact. The US government has recognized these groups to pose a greater threat to the USA than gang violence in Chicago.

            Case in point: Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman. He's arguably the biggest drug lord in history and controls nearly all drug traffic through Mexico to the US. Why don't we get him? Why not a drone strike on him? Since he and his organization are directly/indirectly (depends on how you look at it) responsible for continuing substance addiction in America, would we not have the moral right to take him out?

            I would think that this would certainly apply to any terror cell or members who we know are actively plotting. I see no problem with this - so long as we know what the process is.

  •  Thank you, MB (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hulibow, navajo, Eric Nelson, joanneleon

    for the live blog. I have some work I need to do so probably won't be able to post for a little bit, but I'll have the tv on in the background, listening. Will read the thread after.

  •  Why is James Inhofe on every freaking (7+ / 0-)

    Committee?

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:33:48 AM PST

  •  Really looking forward to my Senator (8+ / 0-)

    Senator Wyden, asking ?s of Brennan, he's no friend of drone strikes.

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:35:07 AM PST

  •  In a nutshell, this is why appeasement (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, shaharazade, joanneleon

    doesn't work:

    Given the furor over the Obama administration's policy of targeted killings by drone aircraft, fired up this week by the leaking of a secret 16-page white-paper memo summarizing legal arguments justifying those killings, there may be some tough questions on that subject for Brennan
    Heck, the Obama Administration bends over backwards to accommodate the RW nutcases wet dreams, and they still give him flack.

    Chamberlain must be rolling over in his grave . ..

  •  Worse or better? (7+ / 0-)

    Better most certainly. The alternatives are all much worse.

    Part of the reason we have the drone program, overseen by the president personally, is because of the experiences of the alternatives. Rendition, Guantanmo, years of legal limbo, massive military invasions, and torture all created massive entanglements that were definitely bad business and worse.

    In other words, it simply made sense to kill them at as low a price as possible. It isn't complicated.

    Now, is there a valid slippery sloper agrument here? Why yes there is. Such in the case of Awlaki's son, a pretty weak case for a strike. But Awlaki himself was an out and out terrorist who declared war on the United States publicly.  He provided aid and comfort to a known enemy of United States. He was not on American soil. Therefore, the president, as a public official and commander in chief, was well within his rights to kill him. In this case, the president's review is sufficient due process.

    But, I do agree that it should be all fleshed out in public. And it should be clear to Americans, fairly in my view, that yeah...if you go to Yemen and hang out with Al Qaeda, you might get taken out without habeas corpus. Tough. But some reasonable curbs on this power to prevent abuse are appropriate.

    •  I find myself agreeing with you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brooklynbadboy, Sybil Liberty

      and BBB, I don't agree with you often.

      The President took his oath of office and promised to protect the country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I believe that he believes he is doing that to the best of his abilities in fighting this very different kind of war.

      I have mixed emotions and I do agree that our rules of engagement need to be made as public as possible while protecting those who are fighting this battle.

      But, if your physically or metaphorically put on the uniform of an enemy army and are engaged in acts that would do harm to our country you have been put on notice.

      "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

      by high uintas on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:49:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reasonable folks can take issue with the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas

        broad definition of "imminent threat." That's fair. Obviously there is a difference between somebody browsing jihadi sites and maybe going to a few meetings and somebody who is actively involved in assisting a terrorist organization.
        But I think having the President himself personally shoulder the burden for these decisions is appropriate. Especially when it concerns an American citizen.

        •  Should the President have the burden alone (4+ / 0-)

          and have final say, or should there be oversight?

          "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

          by justmy2 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:18:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Elimination by committee? (0+ / 0-)

            I would imagine that the President sees that as a nightmare, I do. After the fact oversight? Probably, but there will always we questions of propriety.

            We have been engaged in wars since the first guy hit another guy on the head with a rock, but this is new terrain. The technology that allows us to count the pimples on someone's ass in Outer Whateverastan makes minute by minute decisions not only possible but sometimes maybe unavoidable.

            "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

            by high uintas on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:29:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  One could argue the president has his finger (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Simplify, high uintas, 3goldens

              on the button, impacting the World, so oversight or none, he/she has the ultimate power.

              But what stops the next Richard Nixon from taking subversive action with this new tech.  One could argue the tech expansion should make oversight more needed, not less.  

              "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

              by justmy2 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:32:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  But, (0+ / 0-)

                Oversight of the completed mission, not oversight prior. I agree with you that we need to codify the rules of engagement, I fear the actions of a casual fool of a future President, too. But, we can't have a committee making the initial decision, that would be impossible.

                "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

                by high uintas on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:35:43 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  What I am saying is we have an issue if the (0+ / 0-)

                  President is the prosecutor judge jury and obstensibly executioner for US Citizens.  That is a recipe for disaster, and I can imagine many would be as forgiving with George Bush.  I know this because many didn't even want to give him sign off on wiretapping someone without a warrant much less kill them.

                  "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

                  by justmy2 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:22:25 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Every soldier (0+ / 0-)

                    who pulls the trigger on whatever weapon he/she is in charge of is in that position at that moment, but they have a chain of command to back them up. That chain ends at the President.

                    We have been discussing adding another layer on top of that in the form of an oversight committee. The more I think about it, the more I don't like the idea from any perspective. If the President pulls the trigger, it is on him/her. Period.

                    Now if we want to talk about greater transparency after the fact, I think that is a good place to work from.

                    (I do this all the time, talk myself out of my own positions.)

                    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

                    by high uintas on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:59:38 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  The president should have final authority (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            high uintas

            most emphatically. Only the president can be held publicly accountable for his decisions because the power to execute rests on a power that is solely and exclusively his.

            It is the president who is the elected official here. Only the president should make the decisions because only the president can be held accountable.

            •  I thought congress (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joanneleon, 4kedtongue

              held the right to declare war. Oh yeah the bogus AUMF.  What kind of war is this? It's not a war, it's just Bush's doctrine of preemptive neocon world dominion along with the odious school of geopolitics from the PNAC crowd. 12 years later and we still use 9/11 as a rationale for our aggressive military  

              An amorphous and Orwellian enemy which is not another nation state and includes anyone as an enemy of the state who resists our NWO. The perfect enemy for endless war which is not a real war. Why are we not killing Saudis? They sure seem like terrorist's to me. They just let off some father who killed, raped and tortured his daughter because he paid the blood money.

              Nasty geopolitics disguised as a war on terror, that is so secret and so scary that we lose all our rights as citizens and proclaim the world as a a battlefield and say we are defending ourselves from anyone who threatens us. This isn't a war this is terrorism. Shame on you BBB for supporting the continuation of this violation of international laws and human rights under the flimsy and bogus pretense that the people we kill, torture and seek to subjugate to our 'foreign policy' are an immanent threat.

              Sadly this kind of fear and thinking is not  disconnected from what we are doing to our own people and our sacred documents here in the 'homeland'. Surely the land of the free and the home of the brave with 8 times the military might any nation state could find another way to deal with the blow back from oil resource based ME hegemony other then killing our democracy and becoming a military force and a security state that claims the right to kill those we deem a threat. What a pathetic cowardly reason to condone the violations of universal laws that seek to keep the would be rulers of the world in check.                  

        •  Obviously... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens
          there is a difference between somebody browsing jihadi sites and maybe going to a few meetings and somebody who is actively involved in assisting a terrorist organization
          And, obviously, reasonable folks can take issue with the decision to kill the former as well as the latter based on their reasonable interpretation of the meaning of the word imminent.

          What a load of shit.

      •  "by any means necessary" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas

        -- Jean Paul Sartre, also Malcolm X, and various others too long to list.

        For personal reasons, I'm torn as well.

        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

        by Sybil Liberty on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:04:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oath incorrect (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, 3goldens, justmy2

        Where do you come up with the oath "The President took his oath of office and promised to protect the country against all enemies, foreign and domestic."  What are you talking about?  The President took the oath to defend the Constitution!  No where is there any requirement in the constitution for the president to keep us safe.  

        This fundamental misunderstanding in the role of the government is what has lead to this giant military industrial complex and the justifications for breaking the law and not upholding on the constitution.  

        Please Sarah Taylor get your oath correct and maybe you won't have such mixed feelings about breaking the law.

        •  snarky reply aside (0+ / 0-)

          The oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies ect. is given to those who enlist in our military. The President is Commander and Chief of our military and of what value is the Constitution without the country it defines.

          A stretch on my part? yeah. I'll stand by it.

          "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

          by high uintas on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:09:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  A big stretch (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Simplify, justmy2

            They intentionally put the Constitution in the oath and not the country because the whole idea of the United States was that it was different.  It was based on individual and state rights.  The country itself was not the thing to protect it was the laws and independence that needed protection that is what made us different from other countries.  

            I see it all the time in the media now that the Presidents first job is to protect the people of the United States.  This is so far from the original intent it is scary.  

            Our current leaders in Congress and the President are far more of a threat to the constitution than any terrorist.  What type of threat to the constitution was a 16 year old american kid in the mideast?

    •  Serious Question (6+ / 0-)
      But, I do agree that it should be all fleshed out in public. And it should be clear to Americans, fairly in my view, that yeah...if you go to Yemen and hang out with Al Qaeda, you might get taken out without habeas corpus. Tough. But some reasonable curbs on this power to prevent abuse are appropriate.
      Would you be for a constitutional amendment that redefined Article III treason minimum standards and the 14th Amendment to remove due process and citizenship rights for people identified by the executive branch as enemy sympathizers?  If so, why? If not, why not?

      That seems like the real question we should be asking.  We should not be simply taking shortcuts out of fear, convenience, or as you correctly mention, the difficult due process considerations and entanglements that could ensue.

      We are either a country of laws, or we are not.  If the country believe it is appropriate for US Citizens of some nature to be capitally punished without due process, we should do so in the open and with transparency.  Not by simply waiting for the office holder we trust to get into office and agreeing to the principle.  (Not implicating you, who has been consistent in you PoV on the WoT)

      "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

      by justmy2 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:56:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Could we? (0+ / 0-)

        If it were possible to do this I think it would be a very good thing to have the rules as clear as possible. Amendments aren't the easiest things to swing, but we are in so many grey areas now...It would be a good thing.

        "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

        by high uintas on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:01:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It isn't laws or anarchy. (0+ / 0-)

        I don't know if our common law system has ever been that stringent.

        Would you be for a constitutional amendment that redefined Article III treason minimum standards and the 14th Amendment to remove due process and citizenship rights for people identified by the executive branch as enemy sympathizers?  If so, why? If not, why not?
        No I would not be for such a thing because such a thing isn't necessary. The reason it is not is because the president has enough constitutional lattitude to deal with what he thinks are imminent threats. If we disagree, we can remove him from power if he has abused his authority.

        What I do agree with, however, is requiring the president to identify publicly the sorts of things that could get an American on foreign soil killed without recourse to habeas corpus.

        •  What is the constitutional basis for latitude (4+ / 0-)

          regarding the Article III and the Fourteenth Amendment?

          Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
          It seems to me there is a reason treason is the only crime defined in the Constitution.  If we believe that rationale no longer serves our country, we should be more than comfortable with modifying the constitution to account for the changes in global affairs.  If not, we should follow the law.  (Btw-this easily be modified to sat "renounces citizenship in public", or eliminate the witness clauses.  But I suspect people would be hesitant, which is my point).
          All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
          I do not see any wiggle room in that clause.  Now, clearly, during the commission of a crime, due process can not always be adhered to stop further harm.  However, there is a reason that law enforcement is not allowed to shoot a fleeing suspect that does not pose an imminent threat.

          If we believe this concept is no longer valid, we should say so, and not allow people to misinterpret the constitution.

          "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

          by justmy2 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:15:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This goes to the 'imminent threat' issue. (0+ / 0-)

            I mean, you wouldn't be saying that should the United States learn that a guy is about to explode a dirty bomb in near the capital, the first thing the president should do is go out and find two witnesses in order to call up a grand jury? Correct? No. That would be silly. So I assume you would agree that there are exigencies that would require a president to swerve outside the strict letter of the law to deal with unusual circumstances. Like an 'imminent threat.'

            So what then constitutes an 'imminent threat?' Who gets to decide? So here is where I think the president should be very public and very forthcoming about what he views is an imminent threat and the amount of latitude he will exercise in dealing with them. That is as far as it should go in my view. Let the president take the heat for killing of civilians. Let the president take the heat from Congress, the public, or the judicial branch.

            This is why I have a great deal of confidence in the drone program. The president himself is taking on the burden of deciding what is an imminent threat. Which is exactly what a president is supposed to do.

            •  Yes...I mentioned the imminent threat issue in (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              3goldens

              the comment.  My questions was in reference to non-imminent threats.

              You may be different than others, but many are making the case that this policy is also justified with non-imminent threats.

              "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

              by justmy2 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:58:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  He's already decided, via the DoJ, (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              greenbell, 3goldens, roadbear

              that "imminent" is 20 months. And that's a floor, not a ceiling. And not even for specific attacks. Still confident?

              You want to have confidence in a king. That's what it means when he alone "takes on the burden." I want a president.

              Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

              by Simplify on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:03:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  it looks like that says 20 months after the (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Simplify

                underwear incident

                "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

                by justmy2 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:16:42 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The Constitution (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                yorkiedoglover

                give the president fairly wide latitude in the use of the United States' killing power. Very wide. So wide, it invests him personally with this power. Remember, the commander in chief power does not belong to the White House or the Executive Branch. It is vested in the president, personally.

                So to that end, the president's view of things is that the opportunities to intervene to prevent a terrorist attacks are few and far between. His view is that, as a preventive measure, his ability to curtail an attack at the point where it is actively engaged is extremely limited, forcing him to only be able to deal with terrorist attacks after the fact. In turn, his view is that if those determined to attack the United States via terrorism know that such an attack cannot be stopped in its planning phase because of the law, and cannot be stopped when it is in execution because of circumstances, will only encourage more attacks, making the United States defenseless and endangering the general welfare. This would be a dereliction of duty, as he is duty bound to 'provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare.'

                This isn't an unreasonable way to view things if you are sitting in that chair.

                •  Here we go with the '24' scenario... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...with a little Preamble thrown in.

                  This would be a dereliction of duty, as he is duty bound to 'provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare.'
                  He is also duty bound, as, I would assume are the other branches of government, to 'establish justice' and 'secure the blessings of liberty'.

                  Of course, we can cite the overwhelming number instances where the threat to the lives of Americans was so imminent, that the president had to personally order the killing of an American citizen absent due process, but was hamstrung by all kinds of institutional barriers which prevented the loss of countless American lives.

                •  That is not his Duty (0+ / 0-)
                  This would be a dereliction of duty, as he is duty bound to 'provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare.'
                  Please point to me in the constitution where this falls under the President's duty.  
            •  Here's the problem I have... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              roadbear, justmy2

              ...By redefining "imminent threat," we have a version of the Bush Doctrine going on here. That doctrine argued for preventive war: This nation may someday do us harm so we have the right to intervene now. That's call aggressive war and it is a violation of international law. Pre-emptive war is when an enemy is imminently preparing to attack. That is allowed by international law—it's self-defense. This redefinition of "imminent" is extremely worrisome, in my view.

              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:36:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  So what is an imminent threat? (8+ / 0-)

          As I recall, Mr. Al-Awlaki was vaporized while riding along in a car in Yemen. I don't think someone riding in a car thousands of miles from the United States is an imminent threat to our national boundaries. In fact, I'm pretty sure of it. Posthumously yelling "He was coming right for us!" doesn't cut it, either.

          I also don't think one person's existence is grounds for shit-canning the Constitution. If there's evidence to convict someone, present it. I put the bar very, very high for taking a shortcut through fair trial and due process constitutional requirements. And "it's har-r-r-r-d" or "he's hiding too good" doesn't clear that bar.

          But all that aside, why don't we as a nation trust our Constitution anymore? Every solution to terrorism is apparently a military one. If we're not blowing shit up or blowing someone away without notice, it doesn't merit consideration by our Very Serious Commentariat.

          •  A very good point of contention, fully debatable. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens, Eric Nelson

            Is a person who is told "go pick up this package from point a and take it to point b and then leave" an imminent threat? Lets assume that person is a low ranking Al Qaeda operative who is doing some low level job like acting as a courier. Is that person an imminent threat? What if he has no idea that there is a bomb inside...he's been told he's delivering a box of korans. Is it okay to drone strike such a person before he gets to the Embassy? Or when he picks up the package? Or when he joins Al Qaeda?

            What about a young man who is a full on, fully committed, fire breathing jihadist, but spends most of his time running a small knitting shop. Other than ranting at the Great Satan on fridays, he's harmless. When do you consider this person an imminent threat? When he's driving the explosive laden truck into the Consulate or when he's saying "I will spill the blood of the American crusaders" and then goes out for a bit of hookah?

            What constitutes imminent threat is murky as of now. I agree the president should define it and be clear about it.

    •  That's no slope, that argument is already (14+ / 0-)

      off the cliff.

      No assassinations, period.

      The legitimate choices are:

      • Via treaties and diplomacy, get the country in question to make the arrest, and either that country tries the person or extradites
      • Get the country in question to let us make the arrest, and press charges
      • Congress declares war upon the country, and we attack
      • Do nothing, and play defense

      Anything else is extralegal, illegal, an affront to all of our liberties, and offensive to to human dignity. Such as assassination.

      Otherwise, would you accept another country carrying out an assassination of someone here whom that country's leader deems a terrorist?

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:58:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think (0+ / 0-)

        it is pretty tough argument to make that we should ask places like Pakistan or Yemen or Somalia to go into their hinter regions and deliver unto us a terrorist as a result of an extradition treaty. The machinery of a lawful state is simply non existent in the place where terrorists thrive. That's why they are there in the first place.

        •  Yah, so option #2 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PhilJD

          or #4.

          Or, y'know, illegal assassination. i.e. murder.

          Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

          by Simplify on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:57:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What would be (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Simplify

            the circumstances in which you think the federal government is authorized to use lethal force?

            •  Declaration of war (0+ / 0-)

              Interruption/repulsion of an attack in progress
              Self-defense by legally acting government agents...

              In other words, only authority that the law specifically provides, under the Constitution. Government has no legitimate power beyond what the law gives it.

              Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

              by Simplify on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:43:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  So what about the things you don't know (0+ / 0-)

                about until they actually happen? In other words, how many attacks are you willing to bear before you decide waiting until they are in progress is no longer feasible? Or, do you think that law requires us to simply bear the attacks  and deal with the consequences?

                What happens when you learn of an attack, it has been planned, the materials have been procured, the personnell are in place, but you can't do anything because no law has been broken? At what point in that attack is it lawful to intervene?

                •  Then declare war already! (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Simplify

                  It really is that simple.

                  Except, if there were actual declarations of war against the countries in which these people were located the US would be bound by its treaty obligations - which also are US law. And under many of those the very things our President orders are quite frankly illegal.

                  All of the tap dancing is intended to avoid the legal obligations that our nation and its government to which they are bound.

                  •  So you would declare war on Yemen, (0+ / 0-)

                    Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Mali....

                    Those are the only options you'd consider...war on everybody, or sit on the hands?

                    •  How is launching a drone... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...from Saudi Arabia into Yemen and firing hellfire missiles at a target inside Yemen and killing children inside Yemen NOT a declaration of war on Yemen?  Or Somalia?  Or Pakistan?

                      If Cuba launched a drone attack against anti-Castro Cubans plotting a government over-throw in Miami--and in the process took out about 12 children and a few retirees, how would this government interpret that?

                      •  That's negotiating with yourself. (0+ / 0-)

                        You can twist yourself into a pretzel over anything...including arresting non US citizens and trying them in US courts. We do that. Are you against that?

                        Would we tolerate Cuba issuing arrest warrants for anti Castro Cuban Americans and then let them into the country to perform said arrests? Well no! So therefore we shouldn't attempt to arrest anyone overseas for terrorism!

                        Every time I explore this topic with fellow Dems it leads me back to the President's drone program being quite prudent.

                        •  Well put, except... (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Simplify, justmy2

                          ...you didn't answer the question(s).

                          How are our prudent drone strikes not a declaration of war?  I don't even need a hypothetical.  What was the reaction of this country when terrorists affiliated with no government flew planes into our buildings and killed almost 3,000 of our citizens?

                          There was another route we could have taken.  There were 'prudent' voices calling for law enforcement solutions.  

                          I haven't twisted myself into a pretzel.  I'm attempting to untwist this government from its contortions.

                          You may argue that we are where we are, and that's valid, and that I can agree with.  However, you can't argue that I'm twisting myself into a pretzel.  Nor can you argue that a prudent program, one which involves launching drone attacks from Saudi Arabia (our very presence in that country being one of bin Laden's stated grievances and rationales for having master-minded 9/11) will not create serious blowback down the road.  Prudent...until it proves to be THE reason we're attacked yet again.

                          We haven't even discussed the secrecy behind this prudent program.  Or our Free Press conspiring with our Free Government to NOT inform of the us of bases built in countries from which to launch these prudent attacks.  Or our officials BALDLY lying to us regarding the collateral damage inflicted on the innocent people blown to smithereens in these prudent attacks.

                          There is a real STINK to this prudent program.

                          •  You posed a hypothetical... (0+ / 0-)

                            which is would we want drone strikes here? Well no. Therefore we shouldn't do them there.

                            My counter point to that was that by that logic you can twist yourself into arriving at doing nothing being the only option. So do we want Cuba coming in and arresting Cuban Americans with valid cuban issued arrest warrants to take them back to Cuban courts? Well no. But guess what...we do that. By your logic, we shouldn't because we wouldn't like it. There's always going to be people who wont like what we do no matter what we do. Sometimes we gotta do what we dont want done to us. That's life.

                          •  That's fiat, exceptionalism, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            4kedtongue

                            and "might makes right." It devalues the lives of human beings outside our borders. And it makes them want to do the same to us.

                            We can rule by fear. Or we could coexist with respect.

                            Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

                            by Simplify on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 06:04:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That isn't the question I asked. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Simplify
                            If Cuba launched a drone attack against anti-Castro Cubans plotting a government over-throw in Miami--and in the process took out about 12 children and a few retirees, how would this government interpret that?
                            This isn't about hypocrisy. I think it pretty much goes without saying that no American would like that.  The question is, what would the official response of the US government be were that to happen.  How would that not be considered an act of war committed against us by Cuba regardless of how Cuba tried to justify the action as a prudent strike against people conspiring to engage in a terrorist attack?

                            I'm not saying we shouldn't do it because we wouldn't like it if the shoe were on the other foot. Of course we wouldn't like it.  I'm saying that we're making war with countries without a Congressional declaration of war.

                          •  We already know the answer. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            4kedtongue

                            Every government of every country where we use drones allows us to do so. Every one. Sometimes in direct opposition to the will of their people. So we already have the clearance to do what we want to do from the countries in question.

                            Secondly, obviously the other alternative is the one you propose: declaring war an every single country where we want to attack Al Qaeda. To me, just speaking for myself here, that's overkill. I don't want to declare war on Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Mali, Nigeria, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon....i mean come on. Do you see how ridiculous this could get with formal Congressional war declarations?

                            I don't discount the value of concern for the loss of innocent human life overseas. But I also don't discount the concern for the loss of innocent human life HERE. So understanding all the constrains our government has to navigate in order to deal with a stateless, secretive, well financed, combat hardened fanatical religious extremist organization, I allow a bit of latititude. They don't have to follow any laws. They don't have any constraints except what they think God wills of them. If God wills them to blow up an "infidel embassy" they wont give a shit about filing the appropriate requests with parliament and ensuring there is committee oversight. They'll just go do it. With technology and materials being what they are, it wont be difficult.

                            I'm not saying we have to become them in order to defeat them. Nor should we even if that would work, which it wont. BUT, we can't act like were dealing with a normal Western European nation-state here. That's who our laws of war were written for: Western European style nation states. Well now were not dealing with that. So now what?

                            What happens when this becomes cyber or bio? What happens when, lets just say, a rogue organization of agents from  Chinese intelligence goes out on their own and starts poisoning the American water supply and screwing up our power grid computers? Declare war on China? What if they set up shop in outer mongolia? Would you drone strike in Mongolia? Declare war on Mongolia? Invade and occupy Mongolia? Send a couple of FBI agents over to ask them to come out with hands up? Do nothing?

                            Think through what you would DO. Not what you think ought to be done if conditions were ideal, but what you would do given reality.

                          •  David Frumm... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...someone on the right with whom I don't always disagree, has made arguments similar to the ones you've advanced above.  

                            Every article I've read regarding the drone program -- both pro and con -- to one degree or another, has raised issues of future blowback from these 'cooperative' nations, not to mention the dicey way in which we've interpreted Pakistan's 'tacit' permission to fly drone missions in that country -- despite explicit official pronouncements to the contrary (gives one pause to consider what lengths the administration must have gone to -- and continues to go through -- in order to secure permission from these 'cooperating' governments).  Limiting American casualties while killing innocent civilians in these countries which permit such attacks will only breed a greater resentment of this country among the populations of those countries.  Isn't this what got us into this mess in the first place?

                            Allies like the UK are debating whether to continue to support our drone efforts.  Add to that the extra-judicial targeting of American citizens COMBINED with the complete veil of secrecy surrounding the program (and let's not pretend that releasing the OLC memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee and not allowing even Seante staffers to have access to it amounts to oversight), and I'm left with a very, VERY gnawing feeling about how we're conducting these operations.

                            Why is it drones or nothing?  There isn't another way?

                            Drone attacks are quickly becoming the way we wage war -- and with the AUMF still in full force, we have taken that power away from the Congress -- indefinitely.  That concerns me more than a little.  If we can't find other ways of securing ourselves under a Democratic administration, I shiver to think what this program will look like when controlled by a Republican administration.

                •  Terrorism is a law enforcement matter (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  justmy2

                  Is not conspiracy to commit murder already a crime? That's what the second paragraph describes. So gather the evidence and arrest the plotters or, if the evidence is inadequate for a prosecution, track them.

                  The authority you're really describing is that of blowing up people who people in the American government think might be plotting or supporting attacks but don't know with any kind of surety (i.e. lacking evidence admissible in court). That's assassination, that's a tyrannical exercise of power. You're endorsing Dick Cheney's 1% doctrine, that of treating any 1% chance of an attack threat as if it's an attack in progress. It's immoral, illegal, and counterproductive.

                  And the unaccountable power it vests in the executive branch is guaranteed to allow abuse. More innocent lives ended, more political repression around the globe and at home. Officials are going to see anyone who effectively challenges the policy and power as a threat, hence the Department of "Homeland Security" treating political activists as terrorists. It's all of a piece.

                  Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

                  by Simplify on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:46:35 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Stop talking like a crazy person. (0+ / 0-)

                    Am I calling you a pinko, terrorist loving, traitor? No. Because I know that isn't the case. So stop calling me a Dick Cheney lover.

                    My point is that once you know you have a terrorist plot, what would you advise be done about it? The presidents answer is drone strike. What would you do in lieu of that?

                    •  The President doesn't know, he's guessing (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      justmy2

                      Wiping targeted people and bystanders and mistakenly targeted innocent people and rescuers off the face of the earth, based upon guesses.

                      And were a Republican in office, you'd let him have that power too?

                      And if so, then let's amend the Constitution and then have Congress codify it in law. A government that breaks the law with impunity, or that has vast powers outside what the law proscribes, lacks legitimacy to enforce the law upon anyone else.

                      (I'm not talking about Dick Cheney the person, I'm talking about his ideas. Many of which Obama has explicitly adopted, after he objected to them during the 2007-08 campaign.)

                      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

                      by Simplify on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:33:24 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Dick Cheney is against drone strikes too. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        justmy2

                        So actually, you're on his side in this respect. He prefers we capture and keep custody rather than kill.

                        Wiping targeted people and bystanders and mistakenly targeted innocent people and rescuers off the face of the earth, based upon guesses.
                        So you're saying that we can gather the intelligence, come to a conclusion, and if it is persuasive enough, we can basically do nothing except issue an arrest warrant? Or invade the country? What exactly WOULD YOU DO?

                        Because if a drone strike is a guess, then arrest warrants are a guess too since they spring from the same intelligence. Difference is, the arrest warrant is just a piece of paper. Doesn't solve the problem. How you gonna arrest the guy? Show up with a couple of suits asking the person to come out politely with their hands behind their back?

                        Okay so they shoot the agents dead. Now what? Send in the Seals? Okay so now they've surrounded the compound with a few thousand fighters. Now what? Send in the Marines? Give up? What?

                        President has an answer: BOOM.

                        Next.

                        •  The arrest warrant provides a level of due d (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Simplify

                          diligence and a public/private record of review should the policy go astray.  

                          The process by which the 5th amendment and Article III rights must be transparent.  And if the text did not stand the test of time, the framers provided us with a remedy.

                          My issue is that we are taking action and stating that it is within the framework of our laws when it is not.

                          I personally believe the Constitution is well written and adequate.  But I would accept for now an Amendment discussion and full transparency while the country sorts out the issue.  I think a change will have long lasting consequences, much more likely to be negative than the chances of standard law enforcement action being sufficient to address the threat of terrorism.  Our systems are redundant, and when followed can stop the vast vast majority of threats.   It seems as though because we have a fear of incompetence in our executive branch (as occurred 12 years) we have leaped to a remedy where the costs outweigh the benefits.  Clearly people will differ, but I still believe that if we decide to live in fear and give up our liberties, the lives of 3000 will be lost for naught.  

                          "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

                          by justmy2 on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:07:38 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  That is the answer in my opinion. (0+ / 0-)

                        If we are always going to be at war with Eurasia, and as a society we deem our current Constitution as inadequate, we need to do that in sunlight, and have congress and the President on record.  

                        The secrecy and ease with which our country makes excuses for bypassing the Constitution, be it the 1st, 4th, 5th, 14th amendment is what terrifies me.

                        If the Constitution is no longer valid, politicians should have the courage to say so.  Frankly they would get their way based on what I have seen.  But we would all be aware that we have opened pandora's box.

                        I am pretty sure the .1% and citizen terror argument was made by each of the recent regimes we have overthrown or supported the overthrow of.   When the executive has a kill list, it almost never stops at "the reasonable list".

                        Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

                        "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

                        by justmy2 on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 06:57:51 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Send in the thought police, obviously (0+ / 0-)
                    •  My understanding is that a known terrorist plot (0+ / 0-)

                      is not required.  Brennan made the case yesterday that simply associating yourself with Al-Qaeda is enough because at some point in the future they will come up with a plot and have in the past.  Furthermore, being in the presence of the group forces you to affirmatively renounce it in public before being taken off the list even though you may not know the Government has deemed you not longer worthy of your rights as a citizen.

                      If these facts are stipulated (and I can go find the links if necessary), do you still believe the policy is appropriate?

                      Btw-I am not personally against "Drones" per se.  My issue is with the authority and process under which they are used, which is far from transparent, and frankly unconstitutional IMHO as written in latest leaked DoJ memos.

                      "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

                      by justmy2 on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 06:51:46 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  In other words, (0+ / 0-)

                if you had seen the memo that read "Bin Laden determined to strike US" in August of 2001, you're saying that you would have ignored that for lack of any evidence of a specific plot?

                •  That's a ridiculous question (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  justmy2

                  right up there with, "Are you with us or against us?"

                  No, you'd focus resources on intelligence and analysis — which we had in-hand, had Bush/Cheney only wanted to govern seriously. You'd do the detective work and break up the plot.

                  What I wouldn't do is drop 500-pound bombs on every shack in Afghanistan where I heard a rumor that Osama bin Laden's hairdresser was camped out at. That's an act of war, that's murder, and that only enrages more people and motivates them to attack us.

                  You know what else I'd do? Unwind the military-economic empire. Stop supporting right-wing dictatorships. Stop acting as brutal armed jackals for rapacious international corporations. That's how you end "terrorism."

                  Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

                  by Simplify on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:57:27 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It is the "breaking up" part that is in dispute. (0+ / 0-)

                    When they use a drone strike they are "breaking up the plot." What would you do instead of the drone strike?

                    •  Hammer isn't the only tool in the chest (0+ / 0-)

                      Drone = assassination. Is that really the only recourse, kill kill kill?

                      Arrest, extradite, file charges, wiretap, exchange intel, warn transportation hubs, shut down threatened places and notify the public...

                      :: ::

                      What would you do if we didn't have drones?

                      Conversely, if there was such a thing as a button that could instantly smite whoever on earth one chose to, would you let the President have it?

                      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

                      by Simplify on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:15:49 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Alright. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        justmy2

                        When we didn't have drones, we arrested and interrogated. Alright, so some people we arrest had particular issues: arrests requires people on the ground. People on the ground means we have to trust local officials.  Sometimes local officials aren't on our side. So we need more people on the ground to do what local officials can't or won't do. So then there is an attack...and then Americans and Congress, naturally, call for more security. Stronger presence. More people on the ground. Which means more deaths. Which means people like you and me saying 'get the fuck off the ground.' Which means we are back at square one.

                        How do you extradite an Al Qaeda operative from northwest Pakistan? Right...you can't because the law enforcement apparatus there is full of sympathizers. What about Somalia or Yemen where tribal chiefs, not a government, is in charge and those folks are more afraid of Al Qaeda than they are of us? You wanna go in and start providing security? Maybe build a road or a school? Nation build?
                        Back to square one.

                        To summarize, you've really four options when you are dealing with a terrorist group in ungoverned regions (we aren't using drones in urban areas of Europe...we use traditional law enforcement because it will work there.)

                        1. You can invade the country to one degree or another. Lots of Americans at risk, lots of expense, lots of problems. Collateral damage.

                        2. You can invade the country with targeted special operations strikes, which means some Americans at risk, and then some problems. Perhaps risking hostage situations or worse...Desert One. High risk/High reward. Collateral damage.

                        3. You can drone strike. No americans at risk, minimal financial expense. Kills the target, collateral damage.

                        4. You can do nothing.

                      •  In other words, what I'm saying is this: (0+ / 0-)

                        If you had come to me after 9/11 and said this:

                        1. We can invade Afghanistan and stay there for 15 years.

                        2. We can send in Nave Seals, but were going to be horribly outnumbered and it might not work.

                        3. We can drone strike the shit.

                        4. We can do nothing.

                        #3 would be looking pretty goddamn good then, and it certainly, after years of invasion, looks pretty goddamn good now.

                        •  It isn't "nothing." (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          justmy2

                          It's intel, law enforcement, and preparedness.

                          Fine, though, if your choice is between illegally maybe killing an attack plotter and likely blowing up a bunch of innocent people and terrorizing whole towns in the process, versus acting legally and accepting a slightly higher risk of an attack, I choose the latter.

                          Freedom comes with risk.

                          Fear of anything other than perfect security leads to giving our own government great and tyrannical power, which is more dangerous than any terrorist, in the blowback if not in the direct application.

                          Maybe a drone strike thwarts an attack or exacts revenge for one, but in the long run, it doesn't solve anything, it makes things worse. It doesn't unwind the empire, it encourages future attacks, it makes us killers. Perhaps if the USA had never nudged the USSR to invade Afghanistan, never supported fundamentalist mujahideen like bin Laden, and never based forces in Saudi Arabia (bin Laden's stated original motivation for targeting the USA), the Al Qaeda attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon would never have happened. Drone strikes are of a piece with this history. In fact, the USA withdrew forces from Saudi Arabia, but it was just revealed this week that the Al-Alwaki strike was the first one from a drone base established there.

                          Drones are like the dark side of the force: the ability to smite without risk of being smitten. When Americans assent to the use of this awesome power, especially unilateral use without fear of punishment for abuse, we all but guarantee that it will be put to ill purpose, perhaps even by people with good intentions but also by people with bad ones. Already the President has gone way, way beyond the use you're proscribing.

                          Beyond all that, there is the value of a single human life.

                          Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

                          by Simplify on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 04:38:01 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  How many lives do you think have been (0+ / 0-)

                          or will be saved based on the intelligence we gathered during the Bin Laden raid?

                          Would you be willing to sacrifice that intelligence that could save thousands of lives to limit the risk to 10-12 lives?

                          That is not intended to be an easy question.  I am not against using Drones if the appropriate criteria is met (which the original memo is actually close to getting to in my opinion until the end of the menu made the original criteria meaningless by any definition).   But isn't there continued value to law enforcement vs. immediate strikes without hesitation?

                          "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

                          by justmy2 on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:16:29 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  hmm... (0+ / 0-)

                    I actually think it is a great and provocative question.

                    See my response.

                    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

                    by justmy2 on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:12:13 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  actually, if you saw that... (0+ / 0-)

                  you would go arrest folks and try to get intelligence to stop the plot.   You would pay attention to anomalies.  In the end the chances of stopping that attack would have decreased in my opinion if at that moment we sent a drone to Afghanistan and struck Bin Laden.  

                  So I think this is a great question.

                  19 attackers in a coordinated plot.  You are given intelligence that something may occur.  What action is most likely to save lives?

                  A.  A Drone Attack.
                  B.  A Coordinated Global Law Enforcement All Hands on Deck Actions

                  I think below it was said this is a bad question.  I actually think it is a great and provocative question.

                  "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

                  by justmy2 on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:11:53 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Why was the case... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens

      ...to 'strike' (translation: murder) Awlaki's son a 'pretty weak' one?

      •  There is some debate, but all indications are (0+ / 0-)

        that he was a minor. Yes, he often spewed a lot of hateful propoganda against the United States, but nothing we've learned so far indicated he was operationally involved in Al Qaeda. Although there is some debate about that as well as the administration appears to have been going after a real Al Qaeda lieutenant and Awlaki's son just happened to be collateral damage.

        Still, were it me, I would have discounted the abilities of a 16 year old to be an operative valuable and senior enough to deserve a drone strike. Watching him should have been sufficient by all accounts so far.

        As for his dad, good riddance.

        •  His family has provided his... (0+ / 0-)

          ...birth certificate (16yo at the time of his murder).  Given the awesome power of the Federal Government to gather information, especially the awesome power of the executive branch of the government with its unique reliance on Long-form Birth Certificates to prove the obvious, I hardly think this strawman 'debate' regarding his age was actually ever in dispute, despite the government's attempt to initially justify his murder based on fabricated facts, since the administration never had to go to a a judge before it denied this boy his right to life.

          In other words, he wasn't the target, so the only REAL debate which took place was to determine which of the  competing bullshit stories would be fed to a dangerously kept-in-the-dark American public.

    •  Jeremy Scahill.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify

      ...are you listening?

      But, I do agree that it should be all fleshed out in public. And it should be clear to Americans, fairly in my view, that yeah...if you go to Yemen and hang out with Al Qaeda, you might get taken out without habeas corpus.
      Crystal Clear to Americans.
  •  Do we punish American war criminals/profiteers? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    420 forever, Rube Goldberg, 3goldens

    Does possessing a security clearance also provide immunity from prosecution?

    Should political leaders that lie the country country into war go unpunished?

    Are there certain types of people in American society that
    are above the law, i.e., politicians, bankers and investment brokers?

    A few of the questions I'd like to see answered by all persons seeking positions of trust within our government.

    *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

    by josmndsn on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:39:06 AM PST

  •  Thanks for article - don't expect hard questions (6+ / 0-)

    Listening on CSPAN right now.

    Excellent article by Glenn Greenwald on this topic. Bush policies continued by Obama

    It is fitting indeed that the memo expressly embraces two core Bush/Cheney theories to justify this view of what "due process" requires. First, it cites the Bush DOJ's core view, as enunciated by John Yoo, that courts have no role to play in what the president does in the War on Terror because judicial review constitutes "judicial encroachment" on the "judgments by the President and his national security advisers as to when and how to use force". And then it cites the Bush DOJ's mostly successful arguments in the 2004 Hamdi case that the president has the authority even to imprison US citizens without trial provided that he accuses them of being a terrorist.
    The reason this is so fitting is because, as I've detailed many times, it was these same early Bush/Cheney theories that made me want to begin writing about politics, all driven by my perception that the US government was becoming extremist and dangerous. During the early Bush years, the very idea that the US government asserted the power to imprison US citizens without charges and due process (or to eavesdrop on them) was so radical that, at the time, I could hardly believe they were being asserted out in the open.
    Yet here we are almost a full decade later. And we have the current president asserting the power not merely to imprison or eavesdrop on US citizens without charges or trial, but to order them executed - and to do so in total secrecy, with no checks or oversight. If you believe the president has the power to order US citizens executed far from any battlefield with no charges or trial, then it's truly hard to conceive of any asserted power you would find objectionable.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...
  •  Any chance the nominee will get a chance to talk? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PorridgeGun

    Enough with the preliminary speechifying.  I'm ready to hear the nominee answer some questions.

  •  I just published a diary (17+ / 0-)

    with my one big question for/about John Brennan, and it also includes a number of excerpts of questions submitted by journalists and bloggers.  

    Many questions for John Brennan today and only a few hours to ask them

    I hope that there is a lot of follow up discussion about Brennan because a few hours of hearings is not nearly enough.  


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:44:43 AM PST

  •  I can answer one of your questions: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, Don midwest, PhilJD, 3goldens
    • Since the administration has claimed it has constitutional powers that authorize it to engage in these targeted killings, what will it take to bring the "global war on terror" to a conclusion?
    The real point of "targeted" killings is to perpetuate the "war on terror," and to keep the money pipeline to the "defense interests" open at all costs.  If there were no "global war on terror," a lot of people would lose their justifications for their salaries.

    The good writers over at Tomdispatch have demonstrated over and over again that the whole system generates more blowback than it kills.  Why else would Karzai want the US out of Afghanistan?  

    Now if course if you are talking to a bunch of serial liars, you can't seriously expect the truth as a response to your questions.  So whatever it would take to end the "global war on terror," they aren't going to provide it.

    "There's nothing heroic about earning profit." -Odo, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

    by Cassiodorus on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:46:01 AM PST

    •  Think of the "ideal" case (0+ / 0-)

      What if the CIA had a one-time X-Men "Cerebro"-type ability to know of everyone around the who is plotting or supporting an attack on American people and assets and then sent drones and hit squads to kill all of them. Would "terrorism" be over, in the long run? No, there would just be a new round, in response to all the tyranny and killing. And so on.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:04:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My question for liberals (5+ / 0-)

    If you laugh at Wayne La Pierre for raising the possibility of a home intrusion or marauding gangs as the rationale for needing assault weapons, why should I not laugh at you for raising the .1% chance rule as justification for killing a US Citizen without due process and oversight?

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:46:31 AM PST

    •  I don't think anyone is proposing that private (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sybil Liberty, PJEvans

      citizens go out and kill Al Qaeda.

      •  Why is that material? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, PhilJD, 3goldens

        My question is why does the .1% rule apply for Al-Qaeda but not home invasions or riots, both of which have happened far more often and are far more likely.

        Furthermore, why do we give more credence to psychotic criminals in Yemen and Pakistan than those domestically?  Timothy McVeigh just didn't happen to be as smart at Mohammed Atta.  If one supports this modified policy as a result of 9/11, the policy should have been supported after Oklahoma City.

        The fears of some NRA members have similar levels of legitimacy as those who fear radicals in Yemen.   My question is why do some liberals give one credence and are willing to make sacrifices, but they laugh off the NRAs and say we are going to regulate and maintain oversight on one but not the other.  

        (and by the way, to head on an argument, yest the NRA lobby has a reason for pushing these fears...but don't think for a minute there isn't a similar lobby that profits off of this type of policy and uptick in drone use)

        "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

        by justmy2 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:05:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, because in one case (0+ / 0-)

          we are talking about the ability of private citizens to use lethal force and in the other we are talking about the state using lethal force.

          A better analogy would be is it okay for a cop to fire a weapon at person suspected of being a burglar without first obtaining warrant or catching them in the act.

          •  but I am not discussing the actual killing (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MindRayge

            I am referring to the rationale.  It seems to me that in both cases, the outlier is being used to justify the policy prescription.  But in some cases, some are saying the .1% rule is valid but is invalid in the other case.

            Why is it more valid in the terrorism discussion vs. the gun regulation discussion.

            I am for consistency in position.  I am not making an argument against the policy in this particular question.  (I have done that elsewhere).

            "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

            by justmy2 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:23:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  More like a cop in Seattle (0+ / 0-)

            deciding he wants to take out a suspicious character in Key West because he might me held accountable if he shot someone in Seattle.

    •  Wasn't that .1% rule Cheney's??? (4+ / 0-)

      And anyone who buys into that isn't  liberal.

      I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

      by bobdevo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:52:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah at least Wayne is worrying about folks (0+ / 0-)

      in the neighborhood not thousands of miles away.  

  •  Do not mess with Sen. Feinstein (0+ / 0-)

    It won't go well.

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:48:19 AM PST

  •  Another Q: CIA as paramilitary org (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobdevo, Don midwest, PJEvans, tb mare

    Don't you agree that the civilian CIA should only collect and analyze intelligence, and that any use of force should be carried out by the armed forces, under military law and oversight? Do you not see how dangerous it is for a President to command secret assassination teams?

    If not, how could you argue that another country doesn't have the legitimate authority to assassinate people in the USA whom that country's leader considers to be terrorists?

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:48:43 AM PST

  •  I would love it if Brennan (0+ / 0-)

    Would acknowledge the protesters like Kerry did.

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:50:31 AM PST

  •  My humble questions for Mr. Brennan . . . (4+ / 0-)

    are ya fuckin' kiddin' me, John?  Ya want me to confirm a war criminal?  Are ya still playin' footsie with Cheney?

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:51:14 AM PST

  •  No doubt many here approve of the 5 protests. But (4+ / 0-)

    beyond a symbolic one or two I find them rather offensive, and counter productive.

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:54:16 AM PST

  •  Way to go, Mr. Preznit (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, PhilJD, 3goldens, MindRayge

    John Brennan, on the use of "enhanced interrogation tactics":

    Mr. BRENNAN: Well, the CIA has acknowledged that it has detained about 100 terrorists since 9/11, and about a third of them have been subjected to what the CIA refers to as enhanced interrogation tactics, and only a small proportion of those have in fact been subjected to the most serious types of enhanced procedures.

    SMITH: Right. And you say some of this has born fruit.

    Mr. BRENNAN: There have been a lot of information that has come out from these interrogation procedures that the agency has in fact used against the real hard-core terrorists. It has saved lives. And let’s not forget, these are hardened terrorists who have been responsible for 9/11, who have shown no remorse at all for the deaths of 3,000 innocents.

    John Brennan, on rendition:
    MARGARET WARNER: So was Secretary Rice correct today when she called it a vital tool in combating terrorism?

    JOHN BRENNAN: I think it’s an absolutely vital tool. I have been intimately familiar now over the past decade with the cases of rendition that the U.S. Government has been involved in. And I can say without a doubt that it has been very successful as far as producing intelligence that has saved lives.

    Both quotes were plucked from a 2008 article written by Glennzilla.

    Why is this POS even being considered for anything else other than a prison cell is beyond my comprehension. On the other hand, this is not surprise, given that he's being nominated by the same President who legalized mortgage fraud and money laundering.

    Change you can believe in.

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:56:11 AM PST

  •  Stop reading your resume John (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allenjo

    Seriously.

    "Polls are like crack, political activists know they're bad for them but they read them anyways."-Unknown

    by skywaker9 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:00:08 PM PST

  •  I wished people weren't allowed to read (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skywaker9, PorridgeGun

    their statements in hearings ...

  •  Questions, Oversight, and A Plan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    The Senate needs to take this opportunity to learn about the drone program.  The above questions, while perhaps valid, are clearly from someone who's already made up her mind.  There are very real, very pressing moral/ethical and legal questions about how our President has used drones both in Afghanistan/Pakistan and elsewhere.  I feel a series of more specific, better considered, and less vindictive questions would be productive, such as those recently published in the New York Review of Books.

    The President and the military & intelligence policy makers need to explain to the American people - and the world - how they make the decision to take human life.  They are not obligated to release the content and source of intelligence driving these decisions, for obvious reasons.  Vetting intelligence and providing a real-world sanity check is one function of vigorous Congressional oversight of the intelligence community.  Most members of Congress are eligible for security clearances and actually are - against all indicators otherwise - able to be trusted with sensitive information.  And is annoying as it is for me to acknowledge, I am genuinely grateful for a strong and vigorous political opposition in this context.

    The notion that a nation-state may only fight its enemies within certain geographic boundaries is anachronistic in an era when our most capable enemies are stateless.  Our military can and should pursue them.  But President Obama - an otherwise deeply moral and humane person - needs to explain his plan for regulating and constraining this power for himself and his successors.

    •  "less vindictive"? Since when is asking... (9+ / 0-)

      ...a public servant about whether he will continue to lie—a public servant who is being considered for a position in which his decisions will include killing people—vindictive?

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:25:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  One specific issue is (5+ / 0-)

      ...the legal authority under which they can routine violate sovereignty in order to attack citizens of another country at will.

      You are arguing that the Westphalia principle is archaic.  Well, if it is, maybe the international community needs to re-examine it together instead of depending on the unilateral action of the most powerful nation.  Saying that the principle is anachronistic comes close to a confession that the US is willfully violating international law and cloaking that violation in vague appeals to the "law of war".

      50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

      by TarheelDem on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:26:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Soldier Scholar is right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Soldier Scholar

        The usage of drones to strike targets is not the argument per se. Its the decision-making behind it that should be pursued by lawmakers. What was the intel behind someone becoming a target? How is the intel vetted? Who makes the recommendation to target someone? Who has ultimate authority to launch the drone?

        Rather than drone strikes, should the US pursue them via military intervention/invasion? I certainly wouldn't be in favor of that. But the decision-making behind the strikes should be pursued by lawmakers and the media alike.

        In terms of international law, I think that's a fair game question. But I think the question should be posed as ,"Do you think the use of drones and the detonation of those drones in a sovereign country is a violation of international law." If not, why not?

        As to the whether the questions are vindictive, I'd say the first one definitely is as it serves no purpose.

        •  One big issue to consider (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lotlizard, Soldier Scholar

          Extreme forward deployment and aggressive attacks might not be the best strategy for defending the US homeland.

          There is an implicit assumption of necessity that needs to be revisited in light of the fact that it is a failure of intelligence that is causing a lot of the collateral drone damage and it is a failure of intelligence AND action that allowed 9/11 to happen.

          It seems that every argument goes to expanding and de-regulating what the military (and domesticcally the police) do.

          Putting the frame of discussion too tightly on military strategies, methods, and tactics avoids the fundamental conversation we need to have about post-Afghanistan foreign policy and the national security institutions required to protect the country.  And...what the heck the nebulous term "US interests" really means.

          50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

          by TarheelDem on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:44:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Some good points Tarheel (0+ / 0-)

            On the implicit assumption of necessity - in using drones - surely there must be some process in place for choice to lead to necessity. We just don't know what it is - and this is something that I would like to know. And I fully disclose here that it matters more to me for the targeting of American citizens more than non-citizens.

            As far as expansion/deregulation of military apparatus - eh, this is a tough one. One could make the argument that the use of drones eliminates the need to "roll the tanks" into a country to achieve the same objective.

            As far as post-Afghan policy, I think again that, actually, it is a question of military strategy. The use of drones effectively takes the military nearly out of the equation all together. No fighter bombings; no deployments. Its just the JSOC piloting these drones. Your point is well taken though.

      •  I actually agree. (0+ / 0-)

        The international community does need to come up with conventions and standards for addressing the not-going-away realities of both UAV technology specifically and the pursuit of nationally unaligned militant groups in general.  What I'm suggesting, rather crudely, is that the laws of war need to be revisited and updated.  It's time to go back to Geneva.

        TANGENTIALLY RELATED: Part of the reason it's taken so long for the American people to take seriously the ethical problems with the drone program is that the loudest voices bringing attention to it -  civilian deaths, the breach of national sovereignty, the lack of accountability - were fundamentalist Muslim Pakistanis.  While those problems were and continue to be very real, it was too easy for the American people to believe that the real motivation for their protest was not that drones are cruel, but rather that they're effective.  There are absolutely very real problems with the drone program, and finally we're discussing them on our terms as a liberal democracy.  I hope the conversation is fruitful.

        •  I would add (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lotlizard

          ...that the behavior of transnational corporations should be part of that conversation as well.  Non-state players are not limited to insurgencies.

          Your observation about getting it taken seriously is on target IMO.

          But there is the bigger problem of the public expecting cowboy diplomacy.

          50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

          by TarheelDem on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:53:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  David Atkins (thereisnospoon) has also argued this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Soldier Scholar

        … on Digby's blog.

        the Westphalia principle is archaic
        Liberalism as he defines it is always on the side of interventionism — be it by government regulation and programs to attain good ends domestically, or by our military to attain good ends overseas — other countries' borders and national sovereignty be damned.

        This seems to be the new received wisdom among measuredly pro-war Democrats now.

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:56:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Archaic, yes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Soldier Scholar, lotlizard

          ...almost 400 years is quite a run.

          But there is merit in the nations themselves deciding how to deal with the growing fact of transnationality instead of the most militaristic nation imposing a solution on the world.

          No doubt the ideology of liberalism is on the side of interventionism, but so are most totally reworking ideologies.  Thomas Paine, "We have it in our power to begin the world over again..."

          That impulse however should not be run mindlessly.  For meddlers are not always understanding of what they are meddling with.

          What we should not do is get stuck in looking at the world from our American biases and pushing ahead with our own parochial vision of the world to be.  Our military can no longer attain good ends overseas; it has gotten too ridden with hubris and swagger and showboating and bigfooting.  Maybe the nations of the world need to consider how to fairly share the global commons of airspace and sea lanes and outer space and Antarctica.  Maybe we need to figure out together how to regulate transnational corporations globally so that there are common environmental, legal, accounting, and labor standards.  So that production of goods and services and not arbitrage of resources, labor, and finance drive the bottom line.  So that there is free movement of people and goods and services and capital.  Globally.  And begin to negotiate down the massive military forces that are bleeding economies dry.

          You might say that Westphalia became archaic when Halliburton and Blackwater/Xe/Academi moved their corporate headquarters to the Persian Gulf states.

          50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

          by TarheelDem on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 04:24:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm with you. Westphalia ended the religious wars (0+ / 0-)

            … between Roman Catholic and Protestant.

            The Holy See was very displeased at the settlement, with Pope Innocent X in Zelo Domus Dei reportedly calling it "null, void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, reprobate, inane, empty of meaning and effect for all time".
            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            So too may the new Holy (Washington Dee) See be displeased at the prospect of international cooperation towards peace. The unilateral war on Muslim state sovereignty (with the Magna Carta as collateral damage at home) is designed to be never ending, after all.

            The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

            by lotlizard on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 05:20:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  This is a sad day watching this hearing (12+ / 0-)

    to even think that 4 years ago, Brennan was unacceptable and now here we are - and reports show he is likely to be confirmed.

    What has happened to us in the last 4 years that now he is not only nominated, but likely to be confirmed?

    To me, it just shows how far down the rabbit hole we have fallen.

    "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

    by allenjo on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:18:50 PM PST

  •  If he were injected with sodium pentothal... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Barbara Marquardt, Simplify, PhilJD

    After the injection....

    1) Do you plan to continue lying to Americans?
    Of course I do!  I'm a spy.  Spies lie.  Therefore I will continue lying to you unless or until a forceful outside supervisory element prevents me from doing so.

    2) What was the intelligence supporting the first attempt to kill Anwar al-Awlaki?
    Somebody told us he was up to something, so we tried to whack him.  We bribe people to tell us things about our enemies.  Sometimes they tell us lies to kill personal enemies or to help themselves.  Sometimes they lie to us to keep our money flowing into their pockets.  Most agents like this are very, very untrustworthy.  At this point in the affair, Anwar could have been an American tourist visiting relatives for all we knew.  But hey, there was a thirty percent chance that he wasn't a tourist or an American practicing his free-speech rights, so we decided to blow him up just to be on the safe side.  So we lucked out this time.  He actually was involved in some obscure way with something to do with AQ.

    3) Will your close friendships with Saudis cloud your focus on the US interest?
    Of course it does!  Sometimes spies get so close to their sources or their allies, they can't see the forest for the trees.  But hey, they've got oil and money, two things that we in the CIA realized long ago were of great importance to the politicians who give us our orders.  You want guys like me to stop sucking up to the Saudis?  Fund more solar-cell research, set up big incentives for homeowners to install solar-cell rooftops, integrate wind and solar into the national grid -  man, set up a national grid!  Then elect people who aren't pimping for the oil companies.  You chill the Koch brothers, I won't be sniffing around the skirts of the Saudi royal family.

    4) What role did you have in Bush’s illegal wiretap program?
    I ran the damn thing, didn't I?  I'm a spy.  I've sure I've said that before.  Spies lie, they cheat.  Unless there's someone above me who will keep a close eye on what I'm doing, I'll go batshit crazy, which is exactly what I did do.

    5) Did you help the CIA bypass prohibitions on spying domestically with the NYPD intelligence (and other) programs?
    Uh, spy?  That's me.  Without proper supervision, we'll go out of bounds every damn time.  I'm kinda tired to saying this, so I'll say it one more time.  Unless we're constrained by serious oversight, we'll do what we want when we want to every chance we have.

    The meds wore off at this point.  All further answers were useless.

    Tell me what to write. tellmewhattowrite.com 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

    by rbird on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:32:08 PM PST

  •  So, what do you think of Rockefeller's questions (0+ / 0-)

    ...I can't understand enough listening live...
    I admire people who can grasp the importance of what has been asked and answered in real time...

  •  Wyden speaks now ../nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  Here is Wyden (0+ / 0-)

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:45:21 PM PST

  •  Brennan says he thinks one needs to (0+ / 0-)

    optimize the transparency (about evidence and authority of the President to kill with drones) as well as optimize the secrecy of it.

    So, what is that supposed to mean?

  •  My Senator is coming up ... Barbara Mikulski (0+ / 0-)

    question:
    CIA is not top spy agency it is become an organization that more and more executing paramilitary operations. How do you see this is? How do you see the overriding the special operation command and militarization that is going on?

    What do you think is the role of the CIA with regards to Cyber threats.

    I feel I have been mislead, misdirected ... about by every CIA director in the past ...excluding Panetta...

    Knowing your background ... can I have your word that you will be very forthcoming to speak truth to power, about truth,

    ... I mean what else is she expecting as answer than a yes.

    this is a joke ...

  •  Levin is coming up ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PorridgeGun

    ask question about waterboarding being torture or not.

    Brennan talks around not saying yes not saying no, just that waterboarding will be used again.

    He directs to Holder's words saying he is not a lawyer, how convenient for him...

  •  Sen. Udall is coming up ... /nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  How long does it take you to read 6000 pages? (0+ / 0-)

    How many people will help Brennan to read those 6000 pages? (Committee Report being 6000 pages long).

  •  Great minds think alike (4+ / 0-)

    joanneleon has a comprehensive list of questions for John Brennan in an excellent diary.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:04:45 PM PST

  •  question# 8 (based on question 7): (0+ / 0-)

    Does 'imminent threat' differ from 'ongoing threat'?

    If it does differ, how? - Is it level of threat or immediacy of threat or neither but another?

    If it does not differ and since many experts have already concluded (publicly) that  'terrorism' can not be completely eradicated - isn't that definition a decision putting us at war permanently?

    PS:This question is about drone strikes and policy of application - i know kinda, in the weeds but important imo

    •  correx: My question 8 is based on question 6.. (0+ / 0-)

      ..not question 7

      #6 • Since the administration has claimed it has constitutional powers that authorize it to engage in these targeted killings, what will it take to bring the "global war on terror" to a conclusion?

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