Barack Obama ‘has authority to use drone strikes to kill Americans on US soil’
President Barack Obama has the authority to use an unmanned drone strike to kill US citizens on American soil, his attorney general has said.
By Jon Swaine, Washington
Eric Holder argued that using lethal military force against an American in his home country would be legal and justified in an “extraordinary circumstance” comparable to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“The president could conceivably have no choice but to authorise the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland,” Mr Holder said.
His statement was described as “more than frightening” by Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, who had demanded to know the Obama administration’s position on the subject.
“It is an affront the constitutional due process rights of all Americans,” said Mr Paul, a 50-year-old favourite of the anti-government Tea Party movement, who is expected to run for president in 2016.
Mr Holder wrote to Mr Paul after the senator threatened to block the appointment of John Brennan as the director of the CIA unless he received answers to a series of questions on its activities.