John Brennan said that he is the architect of the drone program currently being used against terrorists. Eric Holder has called the program legal, moral and constitutional. President Obama has said that he personally decides which terrorists will be struck down by drones [He has a “kill list.”].
A now unclassified 16-page paper, which was obtained by NBC News, details the government’s justification for the strikes. The paper was released after a bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to the president asking that all Justice Department memos on the subject be released. Information about its existence was leaked to the senate.
The memo revealed that President Obama’s assumed authority goes far beyond anything that we have been told.
Obama believes he or high-level administration officials have the right to kill Americans if he thinks they are connected to al Qaeda or to other terrorists who pose a threat to the United States. [Imagine Chuck Hagel with this power!]
The paper states:
“The condition 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,” the memo states.
In other words, no evidence, no intel, no proof, no imminent threat, just suspicion.
Once citizens give up habeas corpus, I hope they are prepared to have it used against them one day.
If a Tea Party member or an Occupier poses a threat in the minds of the administration, can they be killed? Imagine if Richard Nixon did this when Bill Ayers was terrorizing people? [Okay, maybe that’s a bad example]
I can hardly wait until tens of thousands of drones are flying throughout the country to spy on the citizens. [Drones over America]
Read the entire ‘white paper’ on drone strikes on Americans. In the paper, it states that President Obama has the authority as president to balance a citizen’s rights under the fourth amendment to due process against that of his responsibility to safeguard Americans.
Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU said in reference to the memo, “This is a chilling document.”
From the ACLU:
…The paper’s basic contention is that the government has the authority to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen if “an informed, high-level official” deems him to present a “continuing” threat to the country. This sweeping authority is said to exist even if the threat presented isn’t imminent in any ordinary sense of that word, even if the target has never been charged with a crime or informed of the allegations against him, and even if the target is not located anywhere near an actual battlefield. The white paper purports to recognize some limits on the authority it sets out, but the limits are so vague and elastic that they will be easily manipulated.
The paper initially suggests, for example, that the government’s authority to use lethal force is limited to people who present “imminent” threats, but it then proceeds to redefine the word imminence in a way that deprives the word of its ordinary meaning. The paper does something similar with the phrase “capture is infeasible.” It initially sounds like a real limitation but by page 8 it seems to mean only that the government won’t use lethal force if capture is more convenient. It’s the language of limits—but without any real restrictions.
Even more problematic, the paper contends that the limits on the government’s claimed authority are not enforceable in any court…Read more
Jay Carney spoke to the press yesterday to explain the president’s guidelines and, it’s simple, there are none. If he decides it is so, so shall it be.
Carney had to field some questions thrown at him by the press yesterday but he gave no real answers.
ABC’s Jon Karl asked why it was more humane to “drop a bomb” on someone than to torture them.
Carney continually referred them to a speech given by John Brennan, nominee for CIA chief.
Bill Plante of CDS said, “You’re taking away a citizen’s due process. Doesn’t it deserve a broader debate at a broader court hearing?”
“The administration has … reviewed these issues,” Carney said. “Shouldn’t they be considered beyond the executive branch?” Plante pressed.
“Internally, they have been reviewed with great care,” Carney said. [HuffPo]