Remember the good ol' days of 4th estate freak outs regarding some tasteless Iraqis-gone-wild photos from the Abu Ghraib prison or Nancy Pelosi claiming she was never briefed about an interrogation technique that involved pouring water on a detainees head? Man, those were the days of speaking truth to power and of holding presidential administrations accountable for their actions.
Maybe all that speaking truth to power and the expenditure of energy for all that righteous indignation tired out everyone because these days, we have a President who has granted himself the power to kill U.S. citizens overseas via drone strikes (he has, in fact, tallied 3 confirmed kills to date) and this country's media is giving us all the impression that they don't care when we know in our heart of hearts they do care... they really do care.
Anyway, here's the freshman senator from Texas, Ted Cruz (R), seemingly having to use teeth pliers to get the miserable hack that runs the Justice Department to admit that wacking U.S. citizens here on U.S. soil is kinda sorta probably not Constitutional, after a memo his department released yesterday suggested otherwise. From the hearing on Capitol Hill earlier today:
From Mediaite (approx. 5 minutes):
“In your legal judgment, does the Constitution allow a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil to be killed by a drone?” Cruz asked Holder pointedly.
“For sitting in a café and having a cup of coffee?” Holder replied. Cruz clarified that his hypothetical individual subject to a drone strike did not pose an “imminent and immediate threat of death and bodily harm,” but that person is suspected to be a terrorist.
“I would not think that that would be an appropriate use of any kind of lethal force,” Holder replied.
“With all respect, Gen. Holder, my question wasn’t about appropriateness or prosecutorial discretion. It was a simple legal question,” Cruz clarified.
“This is a hypothetical, but I would not think, that in that situation, the use of a drone or lethal force would not be appropriate,” Holder replied.
“I have to tell you I find it remarkable that in that hypothetical, which is deliberately very simple, you are not able to give a simple, one-word answer: no,” Cruz added. He said he think that his scenario would constitute a “deprivation of life without due process.”
Holder agreed and added that lethal force in Cruz’s case “would not be appropriate.”
“You keep saying appropriate – my question isn’t about propriety,” Cruz goaded. “My question is about whether something is constitutional or not.”
When Cruz was about to abandon his line of questioning after a number of equivocations from Holder, the attorney general clarified that he was saying “no” such actions would not be constitutional.
Cruz is spot-on in not letting Holder off the hook as "not appropriate" and "not Constitutional" are not distinctions without a difference as Holder suggests at the end of the clip.
At some point, because of the efforts of Senate young guns, Rand Paul (who, as of this posting, is still filibustering the nomination proceedings of John Brennan for CIA Director until he gets some more info from the administration regarding the President's drone program) and Cruz, the chattering classes are going to have to pick up on this. Keep up the great work, gents.