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“The U.S. government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and have no intention of doing so,” Holder wrote Paul on March 4. But, he added, “It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and the appropriate laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.” He mentioned the Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11 attacks as possible examples.
Holder “basically said that they don’t intend to do it and they probably won’t do it but he can imagine a circumstance where they might,” Paul said. “My problem is, I don’t know the exact number, but if I had to guess, a significant number of the drone strikes are on people walking down a pathway, people eating dinner, people in a cafe. They may be bad people, but you can’t use that kind of standard in the United States to kill people eating in a cafe in San Francisco because they emailed somebody.”
He added, “That’s not the way we operate, and it disturbs me that the president will not answer unequivocally that he won’t do that and can’t do that and there’s no authority for him to do that with the military of the United States.”
Paul said he is re-evaluating whether or not to place a hold on Brennan.
Either way, the sharing of additional OLC memos should help Brennan’s chances of overcoming a filibuster.
Matt Fuller contributed to this report.