Holder: Drone strike against Americans in the U.S. possible
March 5th, 2013
04:46 PM ET

Holder: Drone strike against Americans in the U.S. possible

Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday stopped short of entirely ruling out a drone strike against an American citizen on U.S. soil—without trial.

Holder’s comment came in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul. Paul had sent a letter to President Obama’s CIA director nominee John Brennan asking for the administration’s views on the president’s power to authorize lethal force.

In the letter, Holder said “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. “

In a separate letter, Brennan told Paul that the CIA has no such authority.

The nomination passed its first hurdle Tuesday with the Senate intelligence committee voting to approve the nomination in a 12-3 vote. Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said he voted against the nomination because of inconsistencies in Brennan's testimony.

Earlier in the day, the White House agreed to provide legal documents written by Justice Department officials explaining the legal rationale for  targeting Americans overseas who are involved in terror-related activities that threatened America or American interests.

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Filed under: CIA • Congress • Intelligence • Justice Department
soundoff (608 Responses)
  1. Camera drone

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    November 8, 2015 at 10:34 pm | Reply
  2. NYC Fitness Event

    They will never be able to have drone strikes in the United states. To risky, I think the loss of life would be to great. I think the money
    should be spent on intelligence and bolstering the local police forces.

    February 11, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Reply
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    April 30, 2013 at 2:08 am | Reply
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    I think your blog is amazing. You write about very interesting things. Thanks for all the tips and information.

    March 14, 2013 at 11:19 am | Reply
  6. Navyvet8192

    Drones are a tool of the US Military, or have been anyway. There are laws that preclude the US from using the Armed Forces against it's own citizens, specifically Posse Comitatus: A United States federal law prohibiting members of the military from exercising powers that maintain "law and order" on non-federal property. Even if the member of the military is sitting in a chair somewhere in the desert. Now Homeland Security Drones,... Well that's a bird of a different feather. For every law, there is a room full of lawyers thinking of ways to get around it. Makes me sick, absolutely sick.

    March 10, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Reply
  7. Truth

    Now that they know this, prepare the zombies!

    March 9, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  8. the Mayor of Medinah

    If I was Ted Nugent I would be worried

    March 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  9. StanCalif

    Drones are already in use over US soil! The Dept. of Homeland Security is now patrolling our border with Mexico with drones. With unlimited money to spend, this monster agency can do whatever they please. No one in Congress ever questions what they do. If they decide to arm these drones and start kiling people, who cares!
    Now, sheriff departments are puttng in requests to buy drones. Is this a good idea?

    March 8, 2013 at 8:27 am | Reply
    • Larry Winkler

      Of course, Congress knows, at least officially. Congress budgeted the money. They were constantly accusing Obama of failing to stem illegal immigration. That was not true however. For Congress or people like you to say "I didn't know" may be correct in fact, but like Congress, you should have know. It's been reported in the press on numerous occasions, and the use of drones was covered in the newspapers during the Bush years, where here the Democrats were incensed.

      All the handwringing is a ruse. Whoever the "theys" are, they conveniently never know something is going on until they are surprised by it, even though they "knew" it 8 to 10 years ago. Surprise!

      March 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Reply
    • Truth

      When an American dies, everyone will be like Rand Paul was right.. It's sad that it takes shocks to the system to get us back to normality.

      March 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply
    • Truth

      No. Hold Obama accountable.

      March 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  10. bankrupt1

    I wish i knew who did this, but I don't. Apologies to the cartoonist...but there's a cartoon of a kid in NY with a soda (over 16 oz) cowering from a drone.

    March 7, 2013 at 11:50 pm | Reply
  11. Domingo

    Combine the potential use of Drones with Obama's National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order of March 2012 and The National Defense Authorization Act of that year and things become very clear about the situation that is happening to this country. Factor in the unprecedented purchase of guns and ammunition by various departments of the Federal Government and Obama's comments about the need for a national defense force and it is clear that scary and dangerous times are upon us. Obama has placed the Federal Government Above the law, has given himself the right to suspend Habeas corpus and the power to wage war against the American public. Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.

    March 7, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  12. Phil


    March 7, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • Phil

      That's interesting. I posted (twice) about seeing a drone while out fishing. I mentioned the name of the closest air base, and the area I saw it in, and CNN didn't post it.

      March 7, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  13. Pete

    This drone deal is just another republican twist on something..Drones would mostly be in recon missions from afar not the bombing type drones used overseas..Remember too that police today use helicopters which are used to do recon missions and shoot supposidly criminals from the sky,any difference between police operated helicopters,drones because only one is human by nature and one is operated by human not much difference is there.And remember the troops saved by these drones overseas and with drones doing recon its obviously safer then ground troops doing recon isn't it!!Quit letting the likes of Rand Paul and others from the truth that drones would be advantagous in curtailing criminals stateside and safer all around than sending police into dangrous situations isn't it!Plus don't they use robots to dismantle,defuse bombs,explosives and where were republicans when these robots came out years ago now saving thousands of policemens lives,getting kickbacks from the robots manufacture lobbyists right!!!

    March 7, 2013 at 11:55 am | Reply
  14. mccgeno

    I knew it. I just KNEW IT!!! Now, what are we gonna do?

    March 7, 2013 at 11:40 am | Reply
  15. dalene44

    Hope I'm not walking behind, in the same store or have the kids playing outside when they fire at a target. Obama's indefinite detention for US citizens was creepy enough but drone attacks take it to a whole new level.

    March 7, 2013 at 3:07 am | Reply
  16. dalene44

    Hope I'm not walking behind, or in a store with or have my kids playing outside when they start firing at their targets. I thought Obama's Indefinite detention without trial for Americans was creepy enough but drone attacks takes it to a new level.

    March 7, 2013 at 3:04 am | Reply
  17. Kyle

    I think he's correct in saying that. Imagine how many lives could be saved if there were drones near the twin towers & pentagon on 9/11. What do you think the jets scrambled to NY were sent to do?

    March 7, 2013 at 12:49 am | Reply
    • Thepacific

      Dick Cheney would have sabotaged the drone operation on 9/11. Those war hawks would never let things end smoothly like that. They like wars. For wars give them the ocean of opportunity to advance their capital business venture and of course bolder their power. The state has no rights to just shoot and kill without proper legal procedures.

      March 7, 2013 at 7:59 am | Reply
    • Anton

      Yeah really. If we had prevented 9/11, then the U.S. would never have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and caused the deaths of over 100,000 civilians. I'd have called that a victory. :P

      March 7, 2013 at 2:09 am | Reply
  18. massoud

    Kudos to Senator Rand Paul for standing up to Tyranny, without the rule of law we are no longer a republic nor a free society. I would like to see the traitor Obama and his lackeys and minions impeached.

    March 6, 2013 at 11:25 pm | Reply
  19. 1371usmc

    WooHoo now i got a good reason for that AA gun I have been wanting to put in the backyard.....

    March 6, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  20. George Patton-2

    I have no issue with drones being used on American citizen on U.S. soil, but I can't take it any more drones used in Pakistan on my brothers and sisters, and uncles.

    March 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  21. Mike Nelson

    Relating this to the recent 2nd Amendment discussions, *now* my gun-crazy neighbor will want one of these to protect him self from the State, and yada yada yada.

    March 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  22. Pete

    @Filibusterer Rand Paul, he got his wish a dandy letter signed by his hero Eric Holder..Now he's being chastised publicly by the likes of McCain,Graham and other republican hypocrites for doing such an ignorent stunt that only gardered a one word answer"NO".Now Rand go home and rinse your mouth out, you've said enough!!

    March 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Reply
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