Congratulations to Sen. Rand Paul for utilizing the filibuster on a question that he has been asking for nearly a month and asked of the head of DoJ, Eric Holder, and the White House during that period: in their opinion does the President have the power to order a drone attack against an American on American soil without due process of law procedures?
This is not the question: can the President order someone stopped when they are in the process of attacking the United States? That is an in-process question where someone is armed, known, dangerous, affiliated with an organization that has already attacked the United States or has otherwise made clear their intention to attack the United States on their own or in affiliation with others.
That, incidentally, is called Treason and has its own due process procedure set by the US Constitution.
And a single penalty after trial and being found guilty of same.
The White House, Eric Holder and Mr. Brennan, the man who's nomination for head of CIA has caused all of this to come out, have all given a big, hearty waffle on this question. Do note that if this was the previous Administration that the Left, the MFM and all sorts of others would be denouncing that President and calling attention to this question. Their complicity in partisan, tyrannical ends is demonstrated by their lack of doing anything. Save Code Pink and the ACLU, I will grant those organizations and any others that have stood up to join with Sen. Paul and his fellow Senators that assisted on this that they have followed on an ethical and moral line of reasoning. No matter how much you may not like what some of these organizations do, and how insane their motivations may be at times, they are consistent in their insanity.
As for me the question should be self-evident: no, the President does not have that power nor authority to go outside due process. Going after those actually wielding weapons, planting bombs or hacking into the infrastructure of, say, a major sewage system to put its contents into the drinking water of millions of people, those people should be stopped with whatever force is necessary short of an indiscriminant missile attack. Anything that has a warhead measured in pounds of explosives, launched from any platform including a shoulder fired weapon from an individual, is a bit much to go after an individual who is not in a tank, not in an APC, not in a hijacked aircraft about to hit a building or other infrastructure component, or in a known and designated bunker or other fortified area. The potential for the innocent getting hurt or killed in a non-war zone is far too high to be using explosives outside of a testing range or other designated safe facility utilized for the training of same.
And as to the question of being on a 'kill list', I have addressed that previously as something that has a lack of stated doctrine and procedure with legal framework attached to it. The Congress can and should play a part in this using their Article I, Section 8 powers under the Letters language as that is the power that is granted to Congress to address and deal with the Private Enemies of the United States and the language allowing Congress the power to set the means by which the military forces of the US operate. This would allow Congress to name specific groups that have attacked the United States as Private Enemies of the Nation, and that joining such a group is treasonous as it is one that has waged Private War on the US as defined in the Law of Nations. Further it could tell the President that individuals of that organization, foreign and domestic, are to be publicly put on a list of those individuals to be brought in by any means necessary, apprehended when feasible overseas, and that these individuals are admonished to turn themselves in to any US Embassy or any US military base or organization for proper tribunal or trial. Congress could place the general activities of 'terrorism' as those of 'piracy' and put forward, via legislation, that all such individuals are engaged in Piracy when they attack the US on their own and not as part of a Nation. This would actually allow the removal of the cumbersome terrorist statutes and embrace the pre-existing framework of Piracy trials which are also a known part of the international framework of understanding between Nations.
These things would then set a basis for doctrine of apprehension for the Executive Branch and also define when private individuals who are actively part of an organization attacking the US may be attacked, and that other individuals or organizations, public or private, that are aiding and abetting such hostile groups or individuals are to be put on a separate list so that proper legal proceedings can go forward to freeze their assets whenever possible and seize them once proper legal recognition and status is done via trial.
Thus I applaud Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster.
I also humbly suggest that he start legislation to finally get a hard and fast set of legal understandings put forward to properly define and scope out just what a President can and cannot do with drones and other unarmed vehicles in the pursuit of 'terror' groups overseas. Congressional input and designation of groups is necessary, and the President will then have to ask Congress to add or remove organizations to such a list as this is a WAR POWER of the Congress at work. That would then set a methodology that is public and well understood on who is on such a list, and what recourse they have to turn themselves in for proper legal procedures be they citizens or foreigners, at home or abroad. This would then involve all three branches of government and could even set up an initial tribunal system to find out just who is and is not a 'combatant', with the military running such under the Geneva Conventions and defining that 'terrorism' falls under the 'Saboteurs and Espionage' trials for military affairs. Those trials are well known and understood, and have a single outcome when guilty, and it is immediate and summary in nature. That would also clear out Gitmo and allow the US to shut it down once the last of the detainees are processed.
These things are things that can be done by a Senator or Representative and work with others to put legislation forward and move it through Congress.
That is how the entire thing is supposed to work.
Best to remind everyone of that while there is still time.