Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

March 9, 2013

The answer to that (specific) question is no

Filed under: Legal Issues — by Philip J. Palin on March 9, 2013

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6 Comments »

Comment by Philip J. Palin

March 9, 2013 @ 6:40 am

Previous answers by the Attorney General were sufficiently nuanced as to raise questions where there should not have been questions.

Even this answer can imply the authority to use weaponized drones against non-Americans on American soil. What constitutes combat? We have already seen the use against Americans not on American soil.

I understand the executive’s tendency to preserve (and expand) all its options. But this is why the Constitution establishes divided powers.

As the President himself has said in regard to drones, “One of the things that we’ve got to do is put a legal architecture in place and we need congressional help to do that to make sure that not only am I reined in, but any president is reined in, in terms of some of the decisions that we’re making.”

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 9, 2013 @ 10:36 am

But the answer to the question stated “If the threat is imminent by any American citizen then drones may be utilized”!

I have taken some liberties in restating the question but not much!

And several US Senators have signed on to the answer to my restated question!

And note the casting in the negative of Holder’s position.

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 9, 2013 @ 10:39 am

The Military Commissions Act cast the analytical framework of who is an “enemy combatant” in the past tense meaning actions already taken. I would argue American citizens are excluded from that statute so that Holder’s answer is legally meaningless and intended to be more hocus pocus.

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 11, 2013 @ 3:10 am

BTW the Military Commissions Act sets up a binary analysis of who is an “enemy combatant” by using the terms “lawful enemy combatant” and unlawful enemy combatant”!

Comment by Sally Chapman

March 12, 2013 @ 10:21 am

Perhaps while we are debating the authority to use drones on Americans in the United States, we may want to revisit the act of shooting down hijacked commercial airplanes if they are suspected of crashing into buildings.

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 13, 2013 @ 8:26 am

Sally! Excellent question and wondering if you knew that Cheney/Libby have persisted in arguing [correctly IMO] that the VP and its office are not technically an Executive Branch agency and the VP is NOT in the military Chain-of-Command?

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