ACLU Calls Bullshit on Obama's Drone 'Due Process' Promises


President Obama's concerned face
Elizabeth Cromwell

As Ed Krayewski noted yesterday, not everybody was impressed by President Obama's national security speech, in which he vowed to make himself be extra specially careful when raining death from the sky on suspected terrorists (and collaterally damaged civilians), including American citizens, with drones. Sen. Rand Paul may have been the pithiest, when he remarked, "I still have concerns over whether flash cards and PowerPoint presentations represent due process." At greater length, the American Civil Liberties Union also expresses some doubts that "Presidential Policy Guidance," whatever in hell that is, is the same as due process.

Says, in part, Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU:

To the extent the speech signals an end to signature strikes, recognizes the need for congressional oversight, and restricts the use of drones to threats against the American people, the developments on targeted killings are promising. Yet the president still claims broad authority to carry out targeted killings far from any battlefield, and there is still insufficient transparency. We continue to disagree fundamentally with the idea that due process requirements can be satisfied without any form of judicial oversight by regular federal courts.

President Obama tells us, "I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen—with a drone, or with a shotgun—without due process," but his idea of "due process" still seems to involve little more than a concerned expression. After all, in the same speech he fretted that court oversight of drone use "raises serious constitutional issues about presidential and judicial authority" in a way that just unilaterally choosing asassination targets somehow doesn't, and that even "an independent oversight board in the executive branch …  may introduce a layer of bureaucracy."

Oh, and the ACLU isn't too impressed by Obama's vow to, eventually, transfer Guantanamo detainees elesewhere, either. While applauding the promise, Romero notes, "While the president expressed appropriate concern about indefinite detention, he offered no clear plan for ending this unconstitutional policy for those who have not been tried or cleared for release."

NEXT: Yemeni, Pakistani Officials "Welcome" Obama Drone Speech

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  1. “Presidential Policy Guidance,” whatever in hell that is

    Enlightened guidance by a suprahuman mind.

    1. Yeah, Jeez. It’s exactly what it sounds like. The President Guides the Policy.

  2. this administration has highlighted American idiocy like no other – no matter what Obama says, even if it directly contradicts what he said yesterday, a large segment of the public will believe the new narrative and that same segment will totally ignore any actions that contradict his wrods.

    1. or actions that contradict his words.

      1. pr ctions tht contrass his swords.

        I can type faster than you.

      2. Pretty sure that’s spelled “Hypocrisy”

    2. His suit is perfect! Not a wrinkle on it. And what a choice of tie! How can you say he’s not wearing clothes?

  3. Due process, a process, it’s all the same.

  4. Due process, a process, it’s all the same.

  5. “ACLU Calls Bullshit on Obama’s Drone Due Process Promises.”

    How long will it take before the Obama faithful accuse the ACLU of being a group of Corporate Republican lackeys?

    1. They are also racists for not accepting everything he says at face value.

      1. Also, didn’t Obama inherit the current ACLU from the Bush administration?

  6. I find “drone due process” to be needlessly logorrheic. I suggest simply “drone process.”

  7. Yeah, I call bullshit as well…

    To understand Mr. Obama is to understand the dialectic wrapped around all of his words and actions. The President says we’re defeating al quaeda and terrorism, yet the evidence suggests otherwise.

    Now he wants to shift the war on terrorism to fighting the alleged hordes of domestic terrorists.

    Problem is, Mr. Obama has a different idea about who the terrorists are…


    As for the AUMF?



    By the way, how often do the hecklers have credentialed press passes?

    google: usatoday obama medea benjamin heckler counterterrorism speech

    1. “The closest the DHS report comes to offering a definition is this troubling description:

      Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

      1. I see some of myself in that description, but why should I be frigtened? I’m at least safe with this administration that will balance my rights against the coercive power of the government. Balance; I think I’ve tired of the word Liberty, Balance is the protection I need.

      2. So hoplophobes are now classified by the DHS as hate groups?

  8. I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen — with a drone, or with a shotgun — without due process,

    And Obama has spent the last five years demonstrating that he would never do anything that even had a hint of unconstitutionality.

  9. I would love to see someone in the press ask him, ‘at what point did you realize those heading the governments of Yemen and Pakistan were using you to destroy their rivals and domestic opposition? How much did that impact your decision to deploy the drone strikes with more oversight, care and thought?

    Come on, guys, it would totally be worth being audited.

  10. I won’t be impressed until I see a true judicial review of any decision to take someone out via a drone attack. Cicadas Scratch That Just because the President graduated Harvard Law School think you may scratch that doesn’t make him a learned and experienced judicial judge.in fact, for what I’ve seen, he’s the least likely to be neutral.

  11. I won’t be impressed until I see a true judicial review of any decision to take someone out via a drone attack. Just because the President graduated Harvard Law School doesn’t make him a learned and experienced judicial judge. In fact, for what I’ve seen, he’s the least likely to be neutral.

  12. The weasel-shyster-in-chief keeps using the phrase “due process” in hopes that nobody will remember that what the fifth amendment actually says is “due process of law“, which means it has to be a court that makes these decisions. NO amount of bureaucratic circle-jerking within the executive branch can legally meet this constitutional requirement.

    The thing is, I’m pretty sure that this alleged constitutional law professor already knows that, and by pretending otherwise, he insults us all.


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