The Politico went to some effort, it seems, to dismiss Rand Paul’s concerns about the drone program (as well as his threat to hold John Brennan’s nomination if and when it gets out of the Senate Intelligence Committee).
But Paul’s two letters on the subject are actually far more serious than those mocking them make out (the first one also brings the tally of congressional requests for the targeted killing memos to 19).
For example, Paul is one of the few people asking any questions about non-US citizens.
Do you believe that the president has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil? What about the use of lethal force against a non-U.S. person on U.S. soil?
He also asks how the National Security Act and Posse Comitatus might play into a domestic strike.
Do you believe that the prohibition on CIA participation in domestic law enforcement, first established by the National Security Act of 1947, would apply to the use of lethal force, especially lethal force directed at an individual on a targeting list, if a U.S. citizen on a targeting list was found to be operating on U.S. soil? What if the individual on the targeting list was a non-U.S. person but found to be operating on U.S. soil? Do you consider such an operation to be domestic law enforcement, or would it only be subject to the president’s wartime powers?