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If you're concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability of the policy of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, you have to concede that Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have done us a great service: Cruz with his questioning of Attorney General Holder in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Paul with his widely-reported filibuster on the Senate floor.

Unfortunately, some Democrats don't want to acknowledge this contribution. That's a shame.

It's a fact of life in Washington that people who are good on some issues that you care about are bad on other ones. You can see this all the time without leaving your own party. Just this past week, Ron Wyden, key champion on transparency and accountability of the drone strike policy, badly hurt opponents of war with Iran by becoming an original co-sponsor of the AIPAC/Lindsey Graham "backdoor to war" resolution that tries to "pre-approve" participation in an Israeli attack on Iran, saying that if Israel attacks Iran, the U.S. should support Israel militarily and diplomatically.

When a political figure is in the opposing party, that almost certainly means that they're bad on a lot of issues that you care about. But if you dismiss them when they're good on something else, then you're dismissing all the people who care about that issue, including the people in your own party who care about that issue.  

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz showed how challenging the Administration's lack of transparency on targeting Americans with drone strikes inexorably leads to challenging the Administration's lack of transparency on targeting non-Americans with drone strikes.

In the Judiciary Committee's hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder, Cruz pressed Holder on the question of whether the Administration would consider it Constitutional to target Americans with drone strikes on U.S. soil. Holder responded by saying, yes, it would be Constitutional, in an extreme circumstance like Pearl Harbor or the September 11 attack.

Cruz pressed: nobody disputes that we would respond to a military attack on U.S. soil, or any physical attack, regardless of whether Americans were involved. The question is: suppose someone you consider to be a terrorist were sitting in a café in the U.S., not an imminent threat. Could you drop a bomb on them, like you do in other countries? And that was the question to which Holder finally gave a clear no.

In other words, Holder said: if you are a citizen of the United States, so long as you keep your feet planted on U.S. soil, even if the U.S. government suspects that you are part of Al Qaeda or an "associated force," the U.S. government cannot drop a bomb on you so long as you are not currently engaged in combat, or are not on your way to combat. So long as you are in the United States, the word "imminent" in the phrase "imminent threat" means what everyone thinks it means, what law enforcement thinks it means, what international law thinks it means: right now, or in the immediate future, you are threatening violence, so we can take you out.  

But, according to the Administration, the moment you step outside the United States, then if the U.S. government thinks that you are part of Al Qaeda or an "associated force," the U.S. government can drop a bomb on you, even if you're sitting in a coffee shop, reading a book, with no apparent plans to do anything else. And the reason for that is that the moment you step outside of the United States, the Administration's definition of "imminent" changes from the normal definition: now you are an "imminent" threat because, as a suspected member of Al Qaeda or an "associated force," it's presumed that you will try to do something to the U.S. at some point in the future, not necessarily the immediate future.  

And this is a pretty striking revelation, because ordinarily, as Americans, we think that our rights relative to the U.S. government are attached to us, not forfeit when we travel.

During Paul's filibuster, Paul and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin had an exchange that exposed the same point:

As the filibuster crept toward its 13th hour, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) joined to ask Paul whether the U.S. government had the authority to take out the fourth plane on 9/11 before it crashed into the Capitol. "I don't think this is such a clear and easy situation," Durbin said.

Paul called it a "red herring." "We all agree that you can repel an imminent attack," Paul said. "None of us disagree with that. We are talking about a targeted drone program" against citizens who are "not actively engaged in combat. ... I don't think that standard can be used in the United States." [my emphasis]

Durbin said he respected Paul's response. "I stand with the senator," Durbin said. "I think it is a legitimate question." [my emphasis]

You can see why the Administration might have been reluctant to state this clearly: critics who say the drone strike policy violates international law also read American newspapers. When the UN report comes out, it will likely make note of the fact that the Administration has acknowledged that its re-definition of the word "imminent" to claim that the drone strike policy doesn't violate international law - that is, isn't a policy of extrajudicial killing - not only differs from the customary international law definition, but from the Administration's own definition of "imminent" that it applies in the United States.

During the hearing, Holder effectively conceded the point that the Judiciary Committee needs the Justice Department's memos justifying the drone strikes to do oversight. Holder was asked about the recently released "white paper" justifying the policy. Holder said: you have to read the white paper in conjunction with the underlying Justice Department memos. Thus, Holder himself is saying that the committee needs to have access to the memos to understand the policy.

Sen. LEE:
In fact, on page seven of the white paper -- the white paper goes so far as to suggest that imminence doesn't really need to involve anything imminent. Specifically, it says that this condition, that of imminence that -- that an operational leader present an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.

So I -- I have to ask, Mr. Attorney General, sir, what -- what does imminence mean if -- if it doesn't have to involve something immediate?

HOLDER:
Yeah, I mean I --I think part of the problem is what we talked about in the previous question, but I think that white paper becomes more clear if it can be read in conjunction with the underlying OLC advice.

The events of the last few days proved again what should have been obvious: Congressional pressure works to force the Administration to disclose information that it should disclose, and absence of Congressional pressure doesn't work. The Senate Intelligence Committee, after waiting more than a year, is finally getting the memos because it threatened to hold up the confirmation of John Brennan to head the CIA unless it got the memos and then showed that it was willing to carry out the threat. The Senate Judiciary Committee doesn't have the memos because it has not yet exerted enough pressure. Senator Leahy, chair of the committee, has threatened to issue a subpoena. But Leahy hasn't shown yet that he is prepared to carry out the threat.

Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy.

Poll

Senator Leahy should subpoena the drone strike memos, so the Judiciary Committee can do its job, if the Administration won't hand them over.

89%59 votes
10%7 votes

| 66 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's' not a red herring: (0+ / 0-)
    As the filibuster crept toward its 13th hour, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) joined to ask Paul whether the U.S. government had the authority to take out the fourth plane on 9/11 before it crashed into the Capitol. "I don't think this is such a clear and easy situation," Durbin said.
     Paul called it a "red herring." "We all agree that you can repel an imminent attack," Paul said. "None of us disagree with that. We are talking about a targeted drone program" against citizens who are "not actively engaged in combat. ... I don't think that standard can be used in the United States." [my emphasis]

    Durbin said he respected Paul's response. "I stand with the senator," Durbin said. "I think it is a legitimate question." [my emphasis]

    Of course, taking down the fourth plane would have killed US citizens, and US citizens that were non-combatants.  And the first through third, too.  What about taking out those planes?  

    And whether your answer is yes or no, can you craft a policy that would tell anyone which situations call for lethal force?

    As Durbin says, it's a legitimate question; stating that the innocent  or non combatants doesn't answer it.

    That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

    by Inland on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:48:07 AM PST

    •  I think you misunderstand the situation. (6+ / 0-)

      you're conflating two different things.

      Everyone in the conversation would agree that the fourth plane represented an attack. If the US had shot it down, there would be no dispute about whether the government had legal authority to do that. It's true that that that would have killed noncombatants - the passengers in the plane - but they would have been "collateral damage," the target would have been those piloting the plane.

      The Rand Paul/Ted Cruz question was: can you target people in the US who are not engaged in combat, given that you are targeting people overseas who are not engaged in combat. That was the question that Holder answered no to in the Judiciary Committee hearing: no, we are not claiming that in the US we can target people who are not engaged in combat. Outside the US, it is a different story. Outside the US, the government claims the right to target people who are not engaged in combat.
         

      •  Calling a hijacking "an attack" doesn't help. (0+ / 0-)

        All you are doing is pigeonholing: you want a rule that people who are not "engaged in combat" are not to be killed, but your use of that term is so flexible that when it suits you, "engaged in combat"  includes hijacking.  Or the prediction that there is going to be something worse, then uncertain, after the hijacking.

        My point is, anyone who wants a precise rule about the use of deadly force is going to be disappointed.  It's not as easy as it looks.

        That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

        by Inland on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:02:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Completely separate issues (4+ / 0-)

      There may well be a question of whether the government can deliberately kill you as collateral damage to prevent some imminent harm of even more people by a third party.

      That's completely different than this question, which is all about whether the government can kill you in no special circumstances other than they think you might do something dangerous, in the (relatively) far future.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:01:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are they separate? (0+ / 0-)
        That's completely different than this question, which is all about whether the government can kill you in no special circumstances other than they think you might do something dangerous, in the (relatively) far future.
        I guess that depends on what you meant by "imminent" and "relatively far" and "no special circumstances" and "they think" from the vantage point of predicting what would happen prior to the planes hitting the towers.   I'm thinking that these terms are differences in degree.  

        That's not even "gun control". It's more like "massacre control".

        by Inland on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:06:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  how do you define "imminence"? (4+ / 0-)

      Cops cannot go out and kill someone who is sitting down and eating his dinner at home, and then justify their killing by saying he might murder someone in the future and thus poses an "imminent" threat.

      That is the power the president and his men are claiming. Not that they can stop an obvious, immediate attack with lethal force, but that they can preemptively kill someone on nothing more than the suspicion that that person might do something dangerous in the future.

      That is a definition of "imminence" that goes beyond all reasonable bounds. In effect it would permit the president to order the death of someone who, say, looked askance at him or stepped on his shadow, on the grounds that that person presented an "imminent" threat.

      That is the power they refusing to renounce--in other words, which they are claiming.

      And they know very well what kind of power they are claiming, because their evasions and circumlocutions every time are designed precisely to avoid their openly answering whether they claim this power or not.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:38:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  re: how do you define "imminence"? (0+ / 0-)

        Right: with the caveat that after yesterday, it now appears more clear that the government is not claiming the right to kill you on the basis that you might be a threat in the future - if you are a U.S. citizen, so long as you remain on U.S. soil. But if you leave the U.S., all bets are off.

        •  but they may change their mind in the future (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          420 forever

          and decide to pop you even if you're an American citizen on American soil.

          Far as I can tell, they don't ever actually say they can't do that.

          They just say that at the moment, they would prefer not to do that and rely on law enforcement, while remaining agnostic on the question of whether they believe they have the right to kill an American on American soil.

          In my eyes, staying agnostic is the same as saying "Yes, we think we can do that!"

          Their replies are so carefully designed to avoid answering that question. That means they think an honest answer would piss people off. Well, which of the two answers, "yes" or "no", would piss people off more? Obviously, "yes"!

          "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

          by limpidglass on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:04:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not quite (0+ / 0-)

          There is still the feasibility of capture consideration (the white paper doesn't claim the power to drop a bomb on Montreal), and while imminence is too loosely defined, it doesn't completely lack meaning.  At the very least, it requires a serious link to terrorist groups. Paul and Cruz focused most of their energy on the power to kill Americans writ large, and its clearly colored your perception of the framework under which the administration operates. Instead, there's a sliding scale, and within that framework, it's probably best not to prejudge by hypotheticals as opposed to real cases.  If Paul and Cruz and Wyden want to introduce legislation, that would make sense, but it'd be incumbent on the, to strike the right balance.  Making it about Holder is a dodge (especially given the filibuster is about Brennan, whose agency can't even operate in the US).

           Questions of proof or verification or transparency are separate, but not really avoidable given the qualification regarding feasibility of capture.  Again, the need for a legislative fix doesn't mean the administration shouldn't act in the meantime.  

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:28:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The Drones have a purpose (0+ / 0-)

    Last night on Ed he showed how right-wing militia groups are exploding in this country - to a level right before the OK City bombing.  The drones would be a very good weapon to use against these radicals.

  •  As Droney (h/t to Tom Tomorrow) once said (3+ / 0-)

    "Remember kids -- Eleven years ago, we were attacked...
    so we get to do whatever we want FOREVER!"

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

    by 420 forever on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:57:49 AM PST

  •  We have a Tea Party Senator schooling Democrats (9+ / 0-)

    on human rights. That's just pathetic.

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

    by 420 forever on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:02:13 AM PST

    •  Bullshit...! Rand Paul has a purpose and that is (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jdsnebraska, second gen, Loge, ballerina X

      to rile up the radical fringe on the right to believe that Obama would use drones on these militant "patriot" groups.. This asshole could care less about human rights. His sole purpose is to feed the paranoid right into a frenzy.

      Somos América, nuestros números lo dicen!

      by HGM MA on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:44:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  how do you know that? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Duckmg, 420 forever, Robert Naiman

        don't all citizens have a concern about the rule of law?

        •  Not some self aggrandizing anti-government (0+ / 0-)

          teabagger who has questioned the literacy of this president and has paid lip service to the most radical of these militant groups. If hypothetically there was some large domestic right wing group out there who had the means to formulate and attack… there is no doubt in my mind that some slime like Rand Paul would jump ship and support such a group.  

          Somos América, nuestros números lo dicen!

          by HGM MA on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:04:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well said and cuts to the heart of the Paulabuster (0+ / 0-)

        "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

        by second gen on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:58:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  re: should Rand Paul's motivations be the focus? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        420 forever

        I think the point here is that what we think about Rand Paul's motivations should not be the focus. The focus should be: is U.S. policy as right as it could be, and if not, how can we make it be more right.

        Having said that, I listened to a lot of the filibuster, and Senator Paul said a lot of things that were about (not) killing innocent non-Americans in other people's countries, which is way beyond a lot of the public conversation of most Washington politicians at the moment. So I would say: credit where credit is due.

        •  Yes, let's talk policy! But that's not what he is (0+ / 0-)

          doing, he is talking abstract theoretical pie in the sky conspiracy theories. If this was a serious conversation, then talk about drones would be a side issue. This country has very long history of not only killing, but butchering innocent non-Americans with impunity and even celebrated at times. From FDR to Bush II and now Obama... yet on a much smaller scale.

          Somos América, nuestros números lo dicen!

          by HGM MA on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:14:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I don't trust Paul or Cruz (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howarddream, kefauver, second gen

    I would be shocked if Ted Cruz gave a shit about civil liberties or anything like that, and not just bludgeoning the president.  Republicans certainly spent a whole hell of a lot of time defending Bush's torture, a per se war crime.  So I have a hard time taking them seriously.

    I'd personally like Holder to clarify a few things, but color me skeptical that Republican intentions are pure.

    •  So where's your Democratic Senator on this? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, limpidglass, ZenTrainer

      Why didn't he filibuster?

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

      by 420 forever on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:06:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kefauver

        it's wholly unreasonable to believe that the government is going to kill its citizens within its own borders unless extraordinary circumstances arise.  That's a Glenn Beck dystopian fantasy.

        •  And yet (4+ / 0-)

          Eric Holder hemmed and hawed and had to be forced to give an answer.

          My simple philosophy which has been operative since the Bush years is to assume that the administration is as malevolent as it is allowed to be. Nothing is ever 'unreasonable' when it comes to civil liberties, and these people who have extraordinary power must be held accountable, always, and kept on a short leash.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:18:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree that was odd (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kefauver, Loge

            but he did give an answer.  Not sure what all the hemming and hawing was all about.  It could be something or nothing.  Hard to tell. But it's safe to assume that I won't get droned on the way to the office today.

            The reason I personally stray away from civil libertarian absolutism is because I feel like I would need to embrace slippery slope arguments and I don't like doing that.  I'm glad folks are passionate about it though.

            •  Hemming and hawing: That's what happens (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jdsnebraska, kefauver

              when you're part of an administration that, when you say the sky is blue, a certain faction of this country uses that as proof that you're a radical marxist. Once that pattern is established, you pick your words very carefully. Not that it matters, the batshits will still come up with something, but it puts you on edge every time you open your mouth.

              "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

              by second gen on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:01:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                second gen

                When you're trying to give an answer to a hypothetical scenario, the answer is rarely black and white, especially in legal issues where you don't know any relevant facts.  What was clear was that the US will not be using armed drones on US soil barring some totally unprecedented scenario.

                For example, there's a reason SCOTUS nominees do not address hypothetical legal issues in confirmation hearings.

        •  Did Holder answer the question? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          limpidglass, just another vet

          Can the President order the assassination of an American citizen in US without due process?

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

          by 420 forever on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:18:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The question is vague (0+ / 0-)

            The answer is both yes and no, depending on whether due process is coextensive with judicial process and under which circumstances.  Asking it that way is a political trap, and Holder's right not to take it.

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:33:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, I thought he did answer the question (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jdsnebraska

            I understood Holder to say that it was unconstitutional to use a drone strike on US soil unless there was an imminent threat.

            I think whether there was hemming and hawing isn't totally clear; at first it appeared that there was, but then it appeared that there wasn't, and I think the final answer is that there wasn't; at the end, he gave a straight answer, and said that he meant to give a straight answer all along.

            When Cruz first asked him the question, Holder said it would "not be appropriate." Cruz thought Holder was dodging giving a straight no, and so did I. But when Cruz pressed, Holder said: I thought I was saying no; the answer is no.

            I would give the benefit of the doubt to Holder; Cruz asked him to clarify his remarks, and he did. I think that's the usual rule, and I think it's a good one; if you clarify yourself on the spot, full credit. I noticed that in one of the mainstream press reports they simply reported Holder's answer as "No."

        •  re: Because (3+ / 0-)

          regardless of how likely you think it is, you're missing the point that the debate is exposing broader problems with the policy.

    •  which is why the Dems. should be doing this - eot (4+ / 0-)

      ..now, where did I leave my torches and villagers?

      by FrankSpoke on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:14:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  re: I don't trust Paul or Cruz (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      just another vet, ZenTrainer, Duckmg

      why is it important whether "Republican intentions are pure"? Why should that be the frame we consider this under?

      Lindsey Graham strongly backs the policy of the Administration. Ron Wyden opposes it; in fact, Wyden supported Paul's filibuster. Why should we see this as a Democrat/Republican issue? Why not see it as a right vs. wrong issue?

      Senator Paul noted in his remarks that Obama was continuing a Bush policy. If we opposed a policy before, shouldn't it be ok to continue opposing it? Do we all have to switch?

      •  Because teabagger Republicans (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TooFolkGR, kefauver

        believe that Obama will kill them in their sleep if given the chance.  That's why.  Paul and Cruz are very likely playing into that sentiment.  Everything in politics should be viewed through a political lens.  You could say they're doing the "right thing" (and I very much doubt that) for the wrong reasons.

        I wasn't opposed to the use of force against al Qaeda, in general, during the Bush Administration and I don't oppose it now.  I have concerns about the execution of said force both then and now.  It was never a policy of anybody to use drones on US soil.  That's bordering on paranoid.

  •  Rand Paul is a hypocrite. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howarddream, kefauver
    Paul called it a "red herring." "We all agree that you can repel an imminent attack," Paul said. "None of us disagree with that. We are talking about a targeted drone program" against citizens who are "not actively engaged in combat. ... I don't think that standard can be used in the United States." [my emphasis]
    He talks a good game, but he introduced legislation supporting "swift drone action" based on a "reasonable suspicion" of an "imminent danger" on U.S. soil.
    Sen. Paul Introduces Bill to Protect Americans Against Unwarranted Drone Surveillance

    Jun 12, 2012

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Sen. Rand Paul introduced legislation into the Senate that protects individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles commonly known as drones. The Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012 will protect Americans' personal privacy.

    "Like other tools used to collect information in law enforcement, in order to use drones a warrant needs to be issued. Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics," Sen. Paul said.

    The Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012 also:

    1. Prohibits the use of drones by the government except when a warrant is issued for its use in accordance with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.

    2. Includes the following exceptions:

    1) patrol of national borders;

    2) when law enforcement possesses reasonable suspicion that under particular circumstances, swift drone action is necessary to prevent "imminent danger to life;"

    3) high risk of a terrorist attack

    3. Allows any person to sue the government for violating this Act.

    4. Specifies that no evidence obtained or collected in violation of this Act can be used/admissible as evidence in a criminal, civil, or regulatory action.

    http://paul.senate.gov/...

    •  Hypocrites in DC are a dime a dozen. Name one (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, Roadbed Guy

      person in DC who isn't one.

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

      by 420 forever on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:14:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think you misunderstand (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      just another vet, ZenTrainer, Duckmg

      Paul's "exception" is the exactly the 9/11 "exception" - "imminent danger." Note that word "imminent" - that's crucial.

      As I explained in the diary, that's not what the dispute is about.

      The dispute is about the use of drone strikes when danger is not imminent.

      Outside the US, the US is using drone strikes when danger is not imminent.

      The question that Paul and Cruz have put to holder is whether the government is claiming the right to use drone strikes in the US when danger is not imminent.

      According to Holder (finally) in the Judiciary Committee hearing, the answer is no. The Administration is not claiming the right to use drone strikes in the US when danger is not imminent, unlike the situation outside the US, where the government is claiming the right to use drone strikes when danger is not imminent (in the ordinary sense of the word "imminent," as in "right now" or "in the immediate future.")

  •  Rand Paul is a Grand-Standing Buffoon. (4+ / 0-)

    The guy is a gas bag who likes to hear himself talk.

    I really wish more people here would get that.

    He's not filibustering for some noble cause he truly believes in; he's doing it because he's an attention hog.

    If it was truly some horrible situation as it has been inflated to be, there would be more Senators speaking out against it.

    Sad that so many people here got duped by Senator Curb-Stomp.

    I miss Speaker Pelosi :^(

    by howarddream on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:14:35 AM PST

  •  With drone use becoming "greatly expaned" in US... (4+ / 0-)

    already for "surveillance" and with few to no regulations in place to even protect privacy, it seems that it's time for an objective conversation about drone use in the US.  

    As the ACLU reported: U.S. law enforcement is greatly expanding its use of domestic drones for surveillance.

    The ACLU's full report on Domestic Drones outlines the privacy concerns, details the types of drones available, the law enforcement (local and federal) uses (current and possible future) of drones, the current and potential future uses of these drones, and what could go wrong.  IMHO, it's worth a read.  Some snips:  (emphasis mine)

    ...Drone manufacturers are also considering offering police the option of arming these remote-controlled aircraft with (nonlethal for now) weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas...

    Drone capabilities...The military and law enforcement are keenly interested in developing small drones, which have the advantages of being versatile, cheap to buy and maintain, and in some cases so small and quiet that they will escape notice...

    ...See-through imaging. The military is developing radar technologies that can see through ceilings and walls and allow the tracking of human targets even when they are inside buildings...

    ...CBP has been making its Predator drones available for domestic law enforcement operations by local police departments, and federal agencies...have used Predators inside the United States as well. This expanded use of the Predators was carried out with no public knowledge or debate...

    ...the FAA is coming under increasing pressure from industry and its allies in Congress, as well as law enforcement agencies, to open the skies to UAVs...

    Mission creep...New uses...

    The use of drones could also be expanded from surveillance to actual intervention in law enforcement situations on the ground...could, for example, be used to control or dispel protesters (perhaps by deploying tear gas or other technologies), stop a fleeing vehicle, or even deploy weapons...

    And, last, but not necessarily lest:

    Video surveillance is susceptible to individual abuse...(and) Institutional abuse....
  •  on this issue, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    420 forever, ZenTrainer, Don midwest

    Rand Paul is right, and is saner than the majority of the Democratic party. And he did all Americans a great service by grilling Holder and demanding clearer answers from him.

    It is truly damning that the top law enforcement official in America cannot give a straight answer to the question of whether the administration can kill an American citizen on American soil based on nothing more than the president's suspicion that that person might do something dangerous in the future.

    Anything other than a straight "no" is an admission that the answer is "yes." In this case, silence does indeed mean assent.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:30:12 AM PST

  •  We need to ask this question (5+ / 0-)

    In the hands of another president of the other party-
    would we have a problem with domestic drone strikes?

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