Drone reports are flying so fast & furious that even hard left outlets aren’t ignoring them anymore. Senator Rand Paul is taking the lead raising questions why these unmanned aerial vehicles are necessary over domestic soil.
Senator Rand Paul posted the following news story on his official website:
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Sen. Rand Paul received two pieces of correspondence regarding the legality and constitutionality of the U.S. government using lethal force, including drone strikes, on Americans and in U.S. territory. Sen. Paul sent three inquires on the matter to President Obama’s nominee to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan (HERE, HERE and HERE). He finally received responses from both Mr. Brennan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on one item of inquiry.
Attorney General Holder stated in a letter to Sen. Paul dated March 4, 2013: “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.”
“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,” Sen. Paul said.
Sen. Paul also received a letter in response from Mr. Brennan, clarifying the CIA does not have the power to authorize such operations. Notably missing from Mr. Brennan’s response are answers to the myriad other questions Sen. Paul posed to him in previous correspondence.
There are some disturbing reports regarding national security and drones out there, and they need to be checked out in full. The Department of Homeland Security (or DHS) is heavily involved with many of these reports:
- The FAA is investigating a report of a drone aircraft over JFK airport. [LA Times]
- DHS “wants to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition in the next four or five years.” [AP]
- DHS built surveillance tech into drones that can track people with cell phones and guns. [CNET]
- The president has a “kill list” of those he can terminate at will. [New York Times]
- A sixteen year-old American son of a terrorist was killed by a drone strike in 2012. [NBC]
The press should vigorously try to ascertain why the White House believes that a fleet of drones patrolling the nation for “terrorists” or illegal immigrants is necessary. This is particularly true given that DHS is allowing ICE to release 5,000 criminal illegal immigrants into the United States.
The activities of DHS, whether we are talking about illegal immigration, drone surveillance, cyber-security, profiling terrorists, the TSA’s behavior at airports, or its militarization of the homeland ‘battlefield,’ appear to have less to do with securing Americans and more to do with building a national security state that disregards individual liberty.