Senators Want Legal Opinions on Targeting U.S. Citizens in Drone War, DOJ White Paper Not Enough

The leaking last night of the Department of Justice’s memo on targeting U.S. citizens considered “operational leaders” of Al-Qaeda or “associated forces” revealed the disturbing contours of the White House’s drone wars; that strikes, even when targeting U.S. citizens, are not subject to review outside the circles of the executive branch. The white paper, while confirming much of the reporting on the executive branch’s use of drones, is nothing new for some members of Congress. Via Fox News:

It's unclear whether that will satisfy lawmakers' concerns. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the intelligence committee, said in a statement Tuesday that the document was already provided to the committee last year. 

"The committee continues to seek the actual legal opinions by the Department of Justice that provide details not outlined in this particular white paper," she said.

With John Brennan’s confirmation hearing for CIA director coming up Thursday, Fox News notes Feinstein is not even among the eleven senators who sent a letter to the White House Monday warning of a “confrontation” if information related to the use of drones were withheld from them. They’re seeking the same legal opinions Feinstein refers to, which, needless to say, haven’t been leaked yet.

The senators signing the letter were Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) , Mike Lee (R-Ut.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.),  Mark Begich (D-Alaska) , Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mark Udall (D-Col.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).  The senators close by telling the president they want to give him the oversight he himself called for in 2009.

The full letter, via Politico, here.

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  • playa manhattan||

    Pretty sure Al Franken isn't (R).

  • sarcasmic||

    Neither is Susan Collins.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The senators close by telling the president they want to give him the oversight he himself called for in 2009.

    Sounds like they are running interference for Barry.

  • Juice||

    Unitary executive, huh? Is John Yoo still working in the White House?

  • Bobarian||

    "targeting U.S. citizens considered “operational leaders” of Al-Qaeda or “associated forces”

    Known as Operation: BFYTY

    Also, what is (D-M.N.).

  • R C Dean||

    "believed", "considered", regardless of "intelligence" on plans to attack the US.

    And "associated" forces.

    Good lord, could that be more vague? More lacking in standards? That sort of language wouldn't pass muster in a contract for janitorial services, and that's the standard for killing a US citizen.

  • Tim||

    "Sooner or later, all our games turn into Calvinball,"

  • Tman||

    Senate:"The committee continues to seek the actual legal opinions by the Department of Justice that provide details not outlined in this particular white paper,"

    DOJ: "HA HA!!. Fuck you. We sold crates of fully auto machine guns to mexican drug lords without any oversight at all, you think we care about your committee?"

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The senators should put it in a White House petition.

  • Bobarian||

    There aren't enough senators to sign it, since 25K is the magic number to get you petition moved up from 'unapproved' to 'approved but ignored'.

  • Bobarian||

    you--your

  • Aresen||

    67 is the magic number to impeach.

    But that will only happen if he shags an intern and lies about it. Won't happen for petty stuff like murder.

  • Adam.||

    they actually recently upped that to 100k, ignoring all those petitions was too tiring.

  • Aresen||

    The senators close by telling the president they want to give him the oversight he himself called for in 2009.

    IOW, murder is OK if we approve it.

    Didn't you guys once have a Constitution?

  • Tim||

    Too bad the fifth ammendment is so vague::

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

  • Bobarian||

    They guarantee to never to drone you more than once, so they're trying...

  • Anonymous Coward||

    nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of drone

    FTFY.

  • SugarFree||

    THE DRONES HAVE PROCESSORS, RIGHT! DRONE PROCESS!

  • Agammamon||

    1. No-one's being held for a crime, capitol or otherwise.
    2. "War-On-Terror" = constant public danger.
    3. They won't kill you twice.
    4. There's a written fucking procedure, how much more due process do you want?

  • Agammamon||

    "Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the intelligence committee. . .
    "The committee continues to seek the actual legal opinions by the Department of Justice that provide details not outlined in this particular white paper," she said"

    I'm confused. Is she acting like she has *principles*? Feinstein? Standing up to her own man?

    I . . . I , almost . . . this is wierd - I almost want to congratulate her for having a shred of human decency. But its got to be trick of some sort.

    Or maybe its like Darth Vader's last minute conversion on the death star.

  • R C Dean||

    Blah, blah. What's she gonna do if DOJ never coughs up any opinions?

    Yeah, that's what I thought.

  • Moridin||

    "67 is the magic number to impeach"

    I'm not a Constitutional scholar, like Barry, but the power of impeachment lies solely with the House. The Senate conducts the trial.

    But the point still stands, the Ds will never impeach one of their own.

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