Yesterday, Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee that there is an airtight legal justification for using drone strikes to kill American citizens abroad, but it’s secret. Also, the Obama administration might use drones domestically. Holder was understandably reticent about when that second scenario might happen, prompting Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to pose two hypotheticals. Suspected terrorist “sitting in a cafe?” No, Holder believes that in that situation, a domestic drone strike would be unconstitutional. Suspected terrorist “pointing a bazooka at the Pentagon?” Yeah, Holder would light that dude up. It is fun that Ted Cruz maybe thinks of the Pentagon as the seat of US government. Otherwise, this exchange was dispiriting in the extreme.
Yesterday, NBC news released a white paper composed by White House lawyers explaining why it is okay to kill US citizens connected to Al Qaeda in foreign countries. You can read the full memo here, where you are at zero risk of forgetting who broke the story. According to the Times, this white paper describes another, more specific brief that I can only assume is even more tedious. The occasion for all this airtight legal
reasoning rationalizing was the 2011 killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki, a US citizen and general douchebag in Yemen, in a drone strike that also incinerated his 16 year-old son. Apparently they were guilty.