Holder: US Can Kill an American on Home Soil
But in response to hypothetical query, he stresses it's unlikely
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2013 6:40 PM CST
Attorney General Eric Holder in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – Eric Holder says President Obama would be in his rights to order the killing of a US citizen on American soil under rare circumstances, reports Mother Jones. But in a letter to Rand Paul answering Paul's question on the matter, the attorney general stressed it would have to a rare case indeed, something on par with Pearl Harbor or 9/11:

  • “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."

Paul didn't like the answer, reports the Huffington Post. Holder'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. The issue came up because Paul had threatened to filibuster the nomination of John Brennan to run the CIA unless he got a response to the question. Brennan himself wrote to Paul today saying the CIA had no authority to "conduct lethal operations inside the United States." Meanwhile, the Senate intelligence committee approved Brennan's nomination this afternoon, and the full Senate is expected to follow suit, reports the Washington Post.

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Mar 8, 2013 11:00 AM CST
(R) 2014 & 2016 Gov. RICK PERRY Report: Do you mean Obama's godfather Rev. Jeremiah Wright's "America's chickens coming home to roost" ?
Mar 7, 2013 9:48 PM CST
they are justifying the action to the american people in preparation for the event.... coming soon to a neighborhood near you....if not you. then the determination is whether you are a terrorist or a patriot! or a sheep that will be led to the slaughter
Mar 6, 2013 3:20 PM CST
"to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States." -- the use of the term "military" in this statement is the key. By law, the "active" military is forbidden from being used for such actions. Mr. Holder and the President (who says He is a Constitutional Scholar) had better go back and check their facts. This article should disturb every American and every member of the Military. If the Commander in Chief should decide to "overstep" his bounds, our freedom will be seriously challenged. We have police officers and the National Guard for special situations. (By the way, as I recall, the CIA is supposed to be forbidden from operating in the United States.)