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WH Press Secretary Hounded By Reporters About Drones

White House reporters tried in vain to get information from press secretary Jay Carney about a newly released paper that deals with the Obama administration's killing of American citizens.

The paper, which was obtained by NBC News, lays out some of the government's justification for the assassination of Americans with drone strikes. The memo says that the US can order the killing of Americans if they are believed to be senior Al Qaeda members, even if they are not actively plotting attacks.

Carney was asked about the paper at the very beginning of Tuesday's briefing. He called the strikes "legal, ethical and wise," and said that they were constitutionally sound.

“The president takes his responsibilities very seriously,” Carney said. “And first and foremost that’s his responsibility to protect the United States." He added that the strikes were conducted “in a way that is fully consistent with the Constitution and all the applicable laws."

And that, essentially, is all he would say, despite a torrent of questions about the paper.

ABC's Jon Karl wondered why it was more humane to "drop a bomb" on someone than to torture them. He also asked about the ACLU's blistering criticism of the paper.

Carney kept referring to a speech given by John Brennan, the current nominee for CIA chief, and saying that the program was consistent with the Constitution.

"You're taking away a citizen's due process," CBS' Bill Plante said. "Doesn't it deserve a broader debate at a broader court hearing?"

"The administration has ... reviewed these issues," Carney said. "Shouldn't they be considered beyond the executive branch?" Plante pressed.

"Internally, they have been reviewed with great care," Carney said.

NBC's Kristen Welker asked how the administration's stated desire for transparency squared with the secrecy surrounding the program.

"We need to inform the public the process that we're undertaking and the reasoning behind it, and the white paper that was provided to some members of Congress ... is part of that process," Carney said.

"But it was leaked," Welker pointed out.

"What is the administration's argument against releasing some form of the actual memos?" another reporter asked.

"I think it was a news organization that Kristen works for has put it out online," Carney replied, saying that reporters should read it now that it was available.

"Well, we request that you put it out," the reporter replied. "It is out there online," Carney said.

"It's not the same thing!" the reporter exclaimed. "I take your point," Carney said.

"Why does the government believe it's legal to kill Americans abroad, but not inside the US?" NPR's Ari Shapiro wondered. "There's no Constitutional distinction — it's just that capture is not feasible [inside the US]? If imminence is one of the major tests, a plot in the United States would be more imminent than something abroad?"

by Anonymousreply 2802/08/2013

This is one of the most frightening developments in American history. Seriously. The military-industrial complex is completely out of control and the President and the Congress don't have the guts to do anything about it.

And it's not as if people weren't warned.

by Anonymousreply 102/05/2013

FINALLY we have a weapon that can enable us to get rid of just about anybody on earth and a President who is immune from criticism to use it.

by Anonymousreply 202/05/2013

R2, is the CIA using Obama as a pawn? That's what it's beginning to look like.

by Anonymousreply 302/05/2013

U.S. drone use could set example for rogue powers

By Carol J. Williams | 2 a.m.

Imagine if North Korea or Iran or Venezuela deployed thousands of unmanned surveillance aircraft in search of earthbound enemies.

by Anonymousreply 402/07/2013

It's cute how we go on about "savages" in other countries. I wonder what the body count in Iran is every year compared to here when it comes to violence.

by Anonymousreply 502/07/2013

Am I the only one who isn't concerned about this? It's limited to Americans overseas who are involved in terrorism. Fuck them, don't care if they die. It's not like they're going to use this on jaywalkers and shoplifters.

by Anonymousreply 602/07/2013

And you're just so sure that's it's going to be used on people who have already been proven guilty, right, you naive moron @R6?

Grow up, you dumb fuck.

by Anonymousreply 702/07/2013

[quote]Am I the only one who isn't concerned about this? It's limited to Americans overseas who are involved in terrorism.

With absolutely no requirement of proof or due process, R6. The government can say "Ooh, let's kill So-and-So, he just might be a terrorist, maybe!" and launch a drone to eliminate him. It's a complete outrage.

by Anonymousreply 802/07/2013

[quote]It's limited to Americans overseas who are involved in terrorism.

If this administration can do things like this, a Romney or Palin administration could also lay out a secret framework for why it's legal to kill Americans in Mexico who are threats to the borders, kill Americans in Arizona who are threats because of running drug operations, or Americans in WeHo who are threats to the institution of marriage.

It used to be American government couldn't even use wiretaps or investigative break-ins without getting a judge to first agree, protecting citizens from unreasonable search and seizure.

This is about killing a citizen with no due process.

There should always be checks and balances on the use of government power, in order to protect the citizens (who are the ultimate source of the power) from abusive use of it.

Don't give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety.

by Anonymousreply 902/07/2013

R9 is spot on.

by Anonymousreply 1002/07/2013

I'm glad that there is FINALLY some criticism of this. Progressives have been too quiet about this for too long.

r3: I think Obama is doing exactly what he wants to.

It should give one pause that this is one of The President's actions that is enthusiastically supported by Republicans.

by Anonymousreply 1102/07/2013

I'm sorry, but I've thought about this all day, and I've put myself on both sides and figured in the possibility of a wrong identification...

If we weren't using drones, we'd be using snipers or othersuch assassins. I can't imagine that we haven't been killing our enemies all along.

I don't see how this is different, still don't see it as wrong.

by Anonymousreply 1202/07/2013

I'm conflicted. I'm all in favor of killing terrorists any way we can, but murder is just one more worrisome power our President has granted himself. Like others have already asked, where does it end? Wake up boys, it doesn't.

by Anonymousreply 1302/07/2013

R2: How in the hell is the CIA using POTUS as a pawn?! He signed the f'g bill allowing this bs. Stop making excuses for his increasingly totalitarian regime.

by Anonymousreply 1402/07/2013

R6: how do you know he is an enemy? Is it because our government decides if you criticize it's policies you deserved to get droned? They also murdered his son, a 16 yo American citizen.

Don't forget about NDAA which allows for us citizens to be jailed indefinitely w/o any due process.

by Anonymousreply 1502/07/2013

I still laugh at the DL'er who blew his top when he was told that Obama had always been a hawk.

by Anonymousreply 1602/07/2013

It's okay. Don't worry. After all, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. He surely knows best.

Seriously, it's interesting how little we read about this on datalounge. Where are all the Obama apologists? Are you all too embarrassed to speak up? Since Obama supports gay marriage (for now at least, since he needed us to ensure his re-election), is it okay for him to kill Americans without due process now? Who's next on the kill list? Stray too far and it might be you.

by Anonymousreply 1702/08/2013

Anybody else hope that by exposing this information someone is setting the scene for backlash on purpose?

I mean, if they really wanted immunity, they would have kept the issue hidden. I feel like this is someone putting it out there so it can be exposed, responded too and barked down.

by Anonymousreply 1802/08/2013

I do r18. It seems a little too convenient that things "leaked" four days before the CIA chief nominee was going before Congress/public.

I doubt it's some coordinated grand plan. Personally, based on Thursday's hearings, I think there's a struggle going on for how the CIA will operate in a different world. (Enemies which aren't countries, really rapid technology advances, changing worldwide information and communication landscape)

The Oregon guy (Wyden?) seems to be the one to watch.

Rachel Maddow noted that half the Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee were focused on the CIA guy being too public with information, and on the other side, all the Democrats were focused on the CIA sharing more info.

by Anonymousreply 1902/08/2013

As Rachel Maddow succinctly put it, it's not that the drones are killing bad guys, but "who's a bad guy?" That's the issue. Who gets to decide?

I thought Bush was bad with waterboarding and torture, but Obama has even gone further than that. All that power to kill at will in the hands of the President. What if the next President is Marco Rubio or Chris Christie? Christie will his volatile temper and self-righteous convictions? Do you want Christie to have the first and last say on who to kill?

by Anonymousreply 2002/08/2013

r19: And yet Obama seems to be siding with the Republicans with his desire for no accountability and total lack of transparancy.

by Anonymousreply 2102/08/2013

[quote]As Rachel Maddow succinctly put it, it's not that the drones are killing bad guys, but "who's a bad guy?" That's the issue. Who gets to decide?

Well, it's much more than that. It's a clear violation of the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. Does that not mean anything to anyone here? "Due Process" goes back to the time of the Magna Carta. Do we just pretend all those documents never happened because Obama wants to kill some terrorists?

How awful that Obama was a lecturer in Constitutional Law at the U of C. What was he teaching those law students?

by Anonymousreply 2202/08/2013

r22 that question Rachel posed was about Due Process. Think about it.

by Anonymousreply 2302/08/2013

[quote]As Rachel Maddow succinctly put it, it's not that the drones are killing bad guys, but "who's a bad guy?" That's the issue. Who gets to decide?

Do Americans really need this pointed out to them? This should be a given. 84% of the country is pro-drones. Idiots.

by Anonymousreply 2402/08/2013

Remember when Hillary was too hawkish to vote for. lmao

Does anyone really think Obama wouldn't have voted for the Iraq war at the time. He would have either voted for it, or voted present.

by Anonymousreply 2502/08/2013

Once he became Senator, Obama voted for the Iraq funding each and every time. It's not Obama that I'm worried about. It's the precedent he's setting. Like I said, what about President Christie and his volatile temper and black-and-white view of who is good and who is bad?

by Anonymousreply 2602/08/2013

I can see all the horrid implications of this technology. The thing that bothers me most- lilke most modern weapons is how removed the person pulling the trigger-so to speak- is from the target, the victim(s). It seems basically fair that if someone is going to kill people - they have to put a human being in there to do it and to see it happen. This is the human element. This is the cost of war. Technology like the drones seems to be cheating that aspect of the thing. Removing the cost, removes our sense of the consequences - even more so than they are already.

But here are my questions:

What would be the ideal goal be in regards to these the issue of drones?

They exist. We can't un-ring that bell. Would we have the U.S. completely abandone their use and hope that other countries will do the same?

How do we keep up with the technology while attempting or propose a restriction of it's use?

by Anonymousreply 2702/08/2013

Glenn Greenwald writes that “the most extremist power any political leader can assert is the power to target his own citizens for execution without any charges or due process, far from any battlefield. The Obama administration has not only asserted exactly that power in theory, but has exercised it in practice.”

This is the power of a dictator. That Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were said to have this power was part of their demonization as “brutal dictators,” a justification for overthrowing their governments and murdering the dictators and their supporters.

Ironic, isn’t it, that the president of the United States now murders his political opponents just as Saddam Hussein murdered his. How long before critics move from the no-fly list to the extermination list?

-- Paul Craig Roberts

by Anonymousreply 2802/08/2013
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