In a letter to Paul dated on Monday, Holder said it was possible, “I suppose,” to imagine an “extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate” under U.S. law for the president to authorize the military to “use lethal force” within the United States.
However, Holder said the question was “entirely hypothetical” and “unlikely to occur.”
The United States, he said, has not carried out such action domestically and had no plans to do so.
Holder said a potential scenario might involve a president ordering such action “to protect the homeland” in a case like the 2001 al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington or the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.
But he said the administration rejects the use of military force where law enforcement authorities provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat.
Battlefield USA just ratcheted up one notch with comments made by Attorney General Eric Holder to Senator Rand Paul. As the indefinite detention provision for American citizens within theNDAA as stated in sections 1021 and 1022 is still being hard fought in many states, drone use within U.S. borders is still being contested and theFAA has yet to release a concrete guide as to how many licenses have been granted for US flights, AG Holder would not rule out a drone strike against an American citizen on U.S. soil if he were to “imagine an extraordinary circumstance.” Worse yet, the nation’s leading legal adviser said unequivocally that it would be constitutional.
“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.”
Attorney General Eric Holder can imagine a scenario in which it would be constitutional to carry out a drone strike against an American on American soil, he wrote in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,” Holder replied in a letter yesterday to Paul’s question about whether Obama “has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial.”
Paul condemned the idea. “The U.S. Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening – it is an affront the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans,” he said in a statement.