Dianne Feinstein Assures Us Her Review of Targeted Killing Is Adequate

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein just sent out a release assuring us all that her committee keeps close watch over counterterrorism programs, including targeted killing. In her statement, she asserted that “our counterterrorism efforts are lawful under the Constitution.”

The Attorney General presented the administration’s legal analysis for the use of force against terrorists, including Americans. I believe it is important for the public to understand the legal basis and to make clear that our counterterrorism efforts are lawful under the Constitution, U.S. law and the law of war.

We are made safer by strikes against terrorists who continue to lead and carry out attacks on the United States. There are legal limits to this authority and great care is taken to ensure it is exercised carefully and with the absolute minimum of collateral damage. The Senate Intelligence Committee is kept fully informed of counterterrorism operations and keeps close watch to make sure they are effective, responsible and in keeping with U.S. and international law. [my emphasis]

It’s all very nice for DiFi, a member of the Gang of Four, to tell us that her committee is keeping close watch on the assassination of American citizens.

She can say that, because she has actually seen the government’s legal memo authorizing the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.

Except that as of 6:47PM on Monday, according to Ron Wyden’s Communication Director, the full Senate Intelligence Committee still had not seen the legal justification for the Awlaki killing. Nor had it answered simple questions, like how much evidence the government needs to meet the Executive Branch’s unilateral standards for due process. Or whether the government can kill you in the US.

For example, the government should explain exactly how much evidence the President needs in order to decide that a particular American is part of a terrorist group.  It is also unclear to me whether individual Americans must be given the opportunity to surrender before lethal force is used against them.  And I’m particularly concerned that the geographic boundaries of this authority have not been clearly laid out.  Based on what I’ve heard so far, I can’t tell whether or not the Justice Department’s legal arguments would allow the President to order intelligence agencies to kill an American inside the United States.

If a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee doesn’t know the answers to those questions, DiFi is simply wrong when she claims her committee has had adequate oversight over the killing of an American citizen.

It’s all very nice that DiFi tells us this is constitutional. But right now there’s still been grossly inadequate oversight to test that claim. Hamdi required an impartial adjudicator. But at this point, I’m not convinced we’ve even fulfilled the requirements of the National Security Act.

Tweet about this on Twitter1Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook1Google+0Email to someone

32 Responses to Dianne Feinstein Assures Us Her Review of Targeted Killing Is Adequate

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @JamesFallows His strokes would still be all time world class great. But he would be pretty annoying.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @litbrit What I found on those McCain pics: http://t.co/hO60jHA93E
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @pbump Gotta say, between those and the Reefer Madness type of drug videos, it was hard to take growing up seriously.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @pbump Ohio State Highway Patrol had a whole series of gruesome videos. They still showed them in mid 70s when I took driver's ed. Bleech.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @mattdpearce: I've updated my story on the Darren Wilson donations. One fundraiser is a Missouri Democrat running for state senate: http…
2hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @CJonesScout: Looking at the Eastern Michigan football roster has produced some interesting results. http://t.co/JdR4JVSje5
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @MannfredNikolai: This graph shows which European countries are most dependent on Russia for their gas. http://t.co/gyp7Utq4GK http://t.…
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @yeselson @reftpt @StephanieKelton Still, pretty stark then to now.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @reftpt: I've seen this before but I can never get over it. MT @StephanieKelton: #LaborDay poster from 1956. http://t.co/rFJ8LH9147
3hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @drfarls But ... academics. Aren't rules socialist there? (And before I realized today was Sun, was gonna say no one takes Mon classes)
3hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @fmanjoo Also never seen people saying "Oh well, JP Morgan Chase shouldn't have any responsibility to secure online stuff" @steveglista
3hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @drfarls Surely they can't have classes scheduled for the day after labor day?
3hreplyretweetfavorite