Obama admits he doesn’t have authority to “drone” American citizens… sorta


This just in, via Allahpundit:

Strictly speaking, Eric Holder already acknowledged this yesterday after three agonizing minutes of Ted Cruz teasing it out of him. But Rand Paul wanted a formal statement from the White House as a condition of ending his filibuster.

And now, apparently, he’s got it:

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at 1:15 pm. that Mr. Holder’s letter to the Kentucky Republican went out shortly after noon, and just 12 hours after Mr. Paul stages a marathon talking filibuster on the Senate floor demanding clarification of U.S. drone policies and the president’s authority to order strikes on Americans.

Mr. Holder’s letter answers Mr. Rand’s question, “Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill Americans not engaged in combat on U.S. soil,” Mr. Carney said.

The answer to that question is no,” he said. “A letter signed by the attorney general has gone out in the last half an hour.”

This is great, on its face. But when examined a bit closer, it looks like there’s some Clintonian parsing of words occurring:

…before you celebrate, think carefully about whether Holder’s really answering his concerns. Paul wasn’t just asking about “weaponized drones.” He was asking about targeted killing generally.

Sending the CIA in to shoot a guy in the head because he’s on O’s “kill list” doesn’t address the due process concerns just because no drone was used. The phrase “not engaged in combat” is also murky since the entire point of this debate is about defining what it means to be “engaged in combat” against the United States.

Paul’s point yesterday was that, even if a U.S. citizen is an “enemy combatant,” the feds should be barred from summarily executing him if he’s on U.S. soil.

Because without that distinction, we still have this, simply minus the “drone” part:

Judge jury executioner

Still, we wouldn’t be this far without Rand Paul’s efforts, which were successful on a number of levels. From the Washington Examiner:

On the most practical level, Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster from Wednesday morning til after midnight accomplished this: delaying for a day the vote on President Obama’s nominee to head the CIA, John Brennan. Soon enough, Paul ceded repeatedly, Brennan will win confirmation.

So, did Paul accomplish anything besides “blowing up Twitter,” as his cohort Ted Cruz put it? He certainly did. How much he accomplished will be determined, but here are some places to look:

  • He got the major media talking
  • He got many Republicans to express objections to extrajudicial drone killings
  • Made a conservative case for limiting war powers
  • Made a libertarian outreach to the anti-war Left
  • Made himself a major Republican figure

The piece elaborates on all of those points wonderfully, and you really should read it all.

The obvious question in all this has already been asked: can you IMAGINE the wailing if it was Reagan or Dubya claiming to be able to blast Americans from the sky? The duplicity of the Media when dealing with all things Obama has gone from frustrating, to absurd, to chilling.

But thanks to the filibuster, finally, a whole bunch more folks heard about this for the very first time, and, to quote the Examiner piece one last time, “exposed the craven partisanship” of the Left completely:

Democrats refused to allow Paul a vote on a non-binding resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that government can’t kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, while those citizens pose no imminent threat.

There’s no way this course of action jibes with the party’s stated principles. The most likely explanation …is that they didn’t want a vote that might embarrass their party’s president. 

Last night was extraordinary, for each of the reasons above.

We should ALL agree: No president, not even one whom we admire, has the right to circumvent Due Process unless the situation is truly imminent, not “potentially” imminent. And having our glorious Droner-in-Chief attempting to keep this in his bag of tricks certainly made me more than a little uncomfortable.


It’s not as if I ever thought he was going to target me personally, of course.

…Hey, what’s that? Up in the sky…?


27 responses to “Obama admits he doesn’t have authority to “drone” American citizens… sorta

  1. No president no matter who they are should have that power, it’s why the founders included the fifth amendment. If you want my life, property or liberty the government must prove their case against me. This shouldn’t even be up for debate, government has no right without due process.

    This is why somebody should do this very thing about the Patriot Act, another part of government that violates the fifth amendment. Unwarranted search’s by federal agents, threats to tell nobody about those warrants when served and so on. One day people are going to learn that invading our lives has nothing to do with which party you belong too.

    • I’m with ya, Blaine. It was one of the areas where I could agree with my liberal buds years ago. I understood where Bush was coming from, and I believe him to be a good, well-intentioned man…. but that doesn’t mean I was in favor of having my rights tossed in the toilet.

      And with BHO, I don’t even have the benefit of believing him to be well-intentioned.

  2. LivinRightinPGH

    That (as you reported, JTR) 41% of polled Democrats SUPPORTED this foolishness is simply amazing to me. Where have all the “Peace-niks” gone?

    Waterboarding? No! Drone killings? YES!
    Open engagement rules in battle for our troops? NO! Drone killings? YES!

    If this is some Leftist ploy to get my head spinning, it’s WORKING!!!

    • Don’t forget my favorite:
      –“Illegal wiretaps of suspected terrorists on American soil” = the worst thing EVER by BUSHITLER.
      –“Blowing them up instead (without a trial/warrant/indictment)”? = TOTALLY cool. Yay, Obama!!!

      Chew on THAT logic for awhile…

  3. Praise the Lord for Senator Rand Paul!! #StandWithRand!!!!!

  4. I still don’t trust any of them. They lie and don’t think anything of it.
    Why couldn’t Holder say that in front of the Senate instead of writing a letter. Rand Paul better save that letter for future use We need more like Rand Paul.

    • Rand was definitely on the right side of this one, Di.

      Here’s hoping he keeps on this sort of stuff, and doesn’t stray over into his dad’s Foreign Policy territory.
      I can live with some compromises there, but not total abdication.
      If Rand can straddle that particular fence, he’s got a chance in 2016.

  5. We will have to see if there is a spike in “spontaneous human combustion” incidents in the future…

  6. LivinRightinPGH

    JTR is definitely “All A-drone….naturally”…..

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