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Department of Justice says White House can use 'lethal force' on American citizens on US soil

Published time: March 05, 2013 22:23
Edited time: March 06, 2013 07:27
Reuters / U.S. Navy / Erik Hildebrandt / Northrop Grumman / Handout

Reuters / U.S. Navy / Erik Hildebrandt / Northrop Grumman / Handout

The US government has the right to use military force on American citizens, even at home - but only in "extraordinary circumstances," the attorney general has stated in a letter to Senator Rand Paul.

Paul had threatened to filibuster the nomination of John Brennan, US President Barack Obama's pick for CIA director, "until [Obama] answers the question of whether or not the President can kill American citizens through the drone strike program on US soil."

Brennan was confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, March 5, the same day Attorney General Eric Holder sent Paul the letter. Brennan now faces overall Senate approval.

The CIA boss nominee told Paul Tuesday that "the agency I have been nominated to lead does not conduct lethal operations inside the United States—nor does it have any authority to do so," advising the senator that the Justice Department would better suited to answer his inquiry regarding whether American citizens could be assassinated on home soil.

In Holder's Tuesday letter to Paul, he explains that as the country's leadership has never carried out a drone strike at home and has no plans to.

"The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront. It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States."

For example, Holder says, "the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances like a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001."

In a February Google+ Hangout, President Obama avoided the topic when asked to directly address whether he had the authority to assassinate Americans, leading observers to assume he did.

Comments (55)


mergon 20.03.2014 11:47

Who would have thought that a government would declare war on its own people !
Americans have always been a violent race and are now turning on their own ,reason being world resources are running out systems are starting to fold 2015 is the marker year 2020 is the target year for the total police state ,total communications tapping /tracking and drone patrols ,resources are being saved for the new world order ,plus there are just to many people on the planet using up to many resources ,look around the world is fighting in the streets for jobs and money ,
time to get your skill sets up ,clock is ticking !


Armando Rivera-Carretero 27.12.2013 00:21

Is this our own government telling us they can kill us to their hearts delight right here in our own country?

Anonymous user 19.05.2013 06:54

the US govt can do this because it is not an American govt; does not represent the ppl, etc

View all comments (55)
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