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InsiderOnline Blog: March 2013

Extrajudicial Killing of American Noncombatants Not an Enumerated Power of the Federal Government

A 13-hour filibuster—a old-fashioned talking filibuster, not the procedural kind—by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) provoked the following response in a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder: “It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.” [Washington Post, March 7]

Duly noted. Sen. Paul’s filibuster briefly held up the nomination of John Brennan to head the Central Intelligence Agency. By the way, relying exclusively on targeted killings is not likely to stem Islamist terrorism, either. As The Heritage Foundation has noted:

While covert strikes can be a successful tactic for hunting down the leaders of terrorist groups, attrition is counterproductive when combating an insurgency. The prospect of “body counts” as the proper metric for measuring success should give Americans pause about the strategy pursued by the Administration. Additionally, without persistent presence and engagement of threatened governments and civilian populations, the U.S. will lack the real-time actionable intelligence necessary for effective targeting of terrorists and the successful suppression of insurgencies. [“A Counterterrorism Strategy for the ‘Next Wave’,” The Heritage Foundation, August 24, 2011]

Posted on 03/08/13 11:05 AM by Alex Adrianson

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