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.