Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Obama Administration Says President Can Use Lethal Force Against Americans on US Soil
Mother Jones ^ | Tue Mar. 5, 2013 | Adam Serwer

Posted on 03/05/2013 6:13:35 PM PST by nickcarraway

Yes, the president does have the authority to use military force against American citizens on US soil—but only in "an extraordinary circumstance," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday.

"The US Attorney General's refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening," Paul said Tuesday. "It is an affront the constitutional due process rights of all Americans."

Last month, Paul threatened to filibuster the nomination of John Brennan, Obama's pick to head the CIA, "until he answers the question of whether or not the president can kill American citizens through the drone strike program on US soil." Tuesday, Brennan told Paul that "the agency I have been nominated to lead does not conduct lethal operations inside the United States—nor does it have any authority to do so." Brennan said that the Justice Department would answer Paul's question about whether Americans could be targeted for lethal strikes on US soil.

Holder's answer was more detailed, however, stating that under certain circumstances, the president would have the authority to order lethal attacks on American citizens. The two possible examples of such "extraordinary" circumstances were the attack on Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. An American president ordering the use of lethal military force inside the United States is "entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront," Holder wrote. Here's the bulk of the letter:

As members of this administration have previously indicated, the US government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so. As a policy matter moreover, we reject the use of military force where well-established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat. We have a long history of using the criminal justice system to incapacitate individuals located in our country who pose a threat to the United States and its interests abroad. Hundreds of individuals have been arrested and convicted of terrorism-related offenses in our federal courts.

The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront. 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. For example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances like a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001.

The letter concludes, "were such an emergency to arise, I would examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the president of the scope of his authority."

In a Google+ Hangout last month, President Obama refused to say directly if he had the authority to use lethal force against US citizens. As Mother Jones reported at the time, the reason the president was being so coy is that the answer was likely yes. Now we know that's exactly what was happening. "Any use of drone strikes or other premeditated lethal force inside the United States would raise grave legal and ethical concerns," says Raha Wala, an attorney with Human Rights First. "There should be equal concern about using force overseas."

This post has been edited to include Paul's statement and the final line of Holder's letter.


TOPICS: Extended News; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: obamaspeople; terrorism; threatmatrix
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-48 next last

1 posted on 03/05/2013 6:13:41 PM PST by nickcarraway
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Mother Jones would have had a hissy fit if this was under Bush. At that, they freaked at the conspiracy that Bush was planning something like this. But with Bo, all is well.


2 posted on 03/05/2013 6:19:15 PM PST by mnehring
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
Let me guess (can't bear to click): the Obamatron commenters are making suggestions of who to drop a drone-based missile on.

But Boooooooooooosh was a war criminal!

3 posted on 03/05/2013 6:20:48 PM PST by backwoods-engineer (Blog: www.BackwoodsEngineer.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
Let me guess (can't bear to click): the Obamatron commenters are making suggestions of who to drop a drone-based missile on.

But Boooooooooooosh was a war criminal!

4 posted on 03/05/2013 6:21:55 PM PST by backwoods-engineer (Blog: www.BackwoodsEngineer.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
the president does have the authority to use
military force against American citizens on US soil
—"but only in 'an extraordinary circumstance,'"


Don't spit in the general direction of mecca.
5 posted on 03/05/2013 6:22:13 PM PST by clearcarbon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Looks like we are heading to the next stage on schedule.


6 posted on 03/05/2013 6:23:10 PM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

I’m not a dictator...but I’m getting there!


7 posted on 03/05/2013 6:23:31 PM PST by hometoroost
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Bold, sure, but then again after the ENTIRE MSM let him off after killing over 300 poor, brown Mexicans in Fast and Furious, how could he NOT go around slinging this kind of arrogance...?

What OTHER STUFF have we not yet heard...?

1.6 billion rounds, 3,000 MRAPs and weekly MOUT ops in REAL American cities:

IT IS ALLLLLL OK WITH THE LIBERAL US MEDIA.


8 posted on 03/05/2013 6:26:06 PM PST by gaijin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
Citizens unwilling to turn over their guns over to Obama.
9 posted on 03/05/2013 6:27:21 PM PST by Huskrrrr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

I was just watching one of the new military “Global force for good” ads and I’m wondering if anyone knows anything about the legality of “I will Obey the orders of anyone appointed over me”.


10 posted on 03/05/2013 6:28:19 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: clearcarbon
the president does have the authority to use
military force against American citizens on US soil
—"but only in 'an extraordinary circumstance,'"

Like - for example - a circumstance in which the President might be about to have the work of his whole time in office tipped into the rubbish bin due to the discovery that he does not meet the legal eligability requirements to serve as Chief Executive.

11 posted on 03/05/2013 6:31:05 PM PST by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
Yes, the president does have the authority to use military force against American citizens on US soil

As do we have the authority to use any means to prevent tyranny by the forces of government

12 posted on 03/05/2013 6:31:15 PM PST by bikerman ("A gun is like a parachute. If you need one and dont have it you wont need one agian.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
The last time a president did that, we had a civil war. Is he trying to start one?
13 posted on 03/05/2013 6:34:25 PM PST by Albion Wilde (Liberalism: knowing you're better than everyone else because of your humility. -- Daniel Greenfield)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
The letter concludes, "were such an emergency to arise, I would examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the president of the scope of his authority."

Behold the real President of the country, the ultimate source of all laws and the most supreme judge of all events.

14 posted on 03/05/2013 6:34:36 PM PST by Greysard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem; SunkenCiv; MHGinTN; narses; gaijin

Funny.

The Attorney General says there “might be” cases where the President has the right (?) to kill Americans - without a warrant or arrest or trial or due process or any warning (?) on American soil ... then lists two very specific cases (Pearl Harbor and 9/11) where FOREIGNERS were attacking Americans on US soil without warning as an act of war!

So, has the president declared war on America?

I mean, we know he IS fighting a decades-long war against American values, American freedom and the American economy, but does this mean he has finally decided it is time to declare that he is doing it?


15 posted on 03/05/2013 6:38:11 PM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but socialists' ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

There’s no telling how many Americans they have killed in our homeland already. The devils imp and his minions have taken over our country.


16 posted on 03/05/2013 6:39:29 PM PST by Vote 4 Nixon (EAT...FISH...SLEEP...REDUX)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

You guys are all wet. Don’t you remember the last sentence of the constitution? Something about if the president is a black, communist, moslem none of the proceeding stuff applies.


17 posted on 03/05/2013 6:40:17 PM PST by Former Proud Canadian (Obamanomics-We don't need your stinking tar sands oil, we'll just grow algae.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Huskrrrr
Citizens unwilling to turn over their guns over to Obama.

Seems like a fallback plan is necessary once they start openly raiding homes searching for guns (that is, raiding innocents without due process). Hide the important ones. Of course this warning isn't for those who lost their guns in boating accidents, they likely have none to turn over. (If you can't link these two last sentences you're on your own.)

18 posted on 03/05/2013 6:40:31 PM PST by roadcat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

What goes around....


19 posted on 03/05/2013 6:42:51 PM PST by Feckless (I was trained by the US << This Tagline Censored by FR >> ain't that irOnic?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Obummer the Warmonger and his Cuomonista have the legal option of a pre-emptive strike which is legal for all parties


20 posted on 03/05/2013 6:50:45 PM PST by bunkerhill7 ("The Second Amendment has no limits on firepower"-NY State Senator Marchione.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-48 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson