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Holder: White House Could Order Drone Strike in US

By    |   Wednesday, 06 Mar 2013 08:25 AM

President Barack Obama could order the military use of deadly force within the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder has told Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in a letter released Tuesday.

According to Politico, the one-page letter was sent in response to another letter the Republican lawmaker sent Feb. 20 to John Brennan, Obama’s nominee for CIA director, asking whether “the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial.”

Paul threatened to block Brennan’s confirmation, which was endorsed by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday by a 12-3 vote, if the question was not answered, Politico reported.

“The U.S. government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so,” Holder said in the letter to Paul, adding the administration rejects the use of military force in cases where law enforcement is best suited to stopping a terrorist threat.

But he went on to say that there are situations, such as the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor or the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, in which the president might have to authorize the use of lethal force “within the territory of the United States.”

“The question you have posted is entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no President will ever have to confront,” Holder wrote.

“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States. For example, the President could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances of a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001.”

Paul, however, was not satisfied with the response, Politico noted. In a statement released by his office, he said Holder had failed to directly address the possibility of a drone strike being used “against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil.”

“The U.S. Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening — it is an affront to the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans,” he said.

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President Barack Obama could order the military use of deadly force within the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder has told Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in a letter released Tuesday.
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2013-25-06
Wednesday, 06 Mar 2013 08:25 AM
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