Rubio: Drone Strike Legislation Adds Accountability

Image: Rubio: Drone Strike Legislation Adds Accountability

Friday, 24 May 2013 11:10 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A new plan to give independent oversight of drone strikes will give "a new layer of accountability" says Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the bill's sponsors.

"This legislation provides a new layer of accountability and ensures the American people are informed through prompt notification to the congressional intelligence committees," said the Florida senator.

"In no way does this bill tie the president's hands to defend the nation or impede operators from targeting terrorists knowingly engaged in acts of international terrorism against the United States, who happen to be U.S. persons.

Rubio introduced the bill Thursday alongside Maine independent Sen. Angus King just a day after the Justice Department disclosed that targeted drone strikes killed four Americans overseas, reports Roll Call.

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The Targeted Strike Oversight Reform Act of 2013 would ensure independent oversight of cases in which the head of U.S. intelligence agency has determined that an American is engaged in international terrorism against the United States.

The act would trigger notifications and independent reviews through the Director of National Intelligence, who would establish an "independent red team" to conduct an alternative analysis and report findings within 15 days.

It would also require notification to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community and to the congressional intelligence committees concerning the terror suspect's identity and the results of the red-team's analysis.

King, a freshman, had previously floated a plan for a special court to oversee drone strikes against U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism. He said the bill he and Rubio are sponsoring will "ensure an independent alternative analysis" of Americans engaged in international terrorism against the United States.

"As the President takes steps to shed more light on these policies, I believe this bill will complement those efforts by providing the framework for an independent review of such consequential decisions," said King, a member of the Intelligence committee.

Their legislation was introduced just before President Barack Obama addressed the question of drone killings in a speech at National Defense University, during which he outlined the legal rationale for targeted strikes.

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