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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