TCTI: Too Crazy To Ignore
Dave Ross
A drone is much easier to make than a nuclear weapon. Pretty soon any country will be able to buy or make one - a precisely targeted drone. (AP Photo/File)

Could the President order a drone strike on your block?

At a hearing Wednesday, the Attorney General of the United States seemed to have trouble answering whether the U.S. Constitution would prohibit the President from ordering a drone strike against a known terrorist who is an American citizen sitting in a cafe here in the U.S. minding his own business.

Said AG Eric Holder, "The way in which you have described this person, sitting at the cafe - the use of lethal force would not be appropriate."

"I find it remarkable that you still will not give an opinion on the constitutionality," said Sen. Rand Paul.

This prompted a real live talking filibuster in the U.S. Senate by members worried that the 2011 drone strike in Yemen that blew up Anwar Al Awlaki set a dangerous precedent. Awlaki had joined al Qaeda, but he was also an American citizen.

According to a leaked justice department memo the United States - as part of its right to defend itself - asserts the right to target al Qaeda operatives wherever they may be: raising the "terrorist in the Starbucks" scenario.

But this whole debate ignores the real threat. Whatever the Constitution says or doesn't say, if a U.S. President ordered a drone strike on American soil, and killed innocent people - as we've done in Afghanistan and Yemen, he'd be impeached and tried for murder.

The real threat from our expanding use of drones is that we have let the genie out of the bottle. A drone is much easier to make than a nuclear weapon. Pretty soon any country will be able to buy or make one - a precisely targeted drone. It's a suicide bomber without the suicide. The real threat is not that the President would order a drone strike on US soil, it's that someone like Anwar al Awlaki might be able to order a drone strike on U.S. soil.

Filibuster THAT.

Dave Ross, KIRO Radio Morning News Anchor
Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.
Top Stories

  • Does This Make Sense?
    Jason Rantz questions Inslee's plan to fund transportation with carbon pollution tax

  • Easing Restrictions
    President Obama has announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba

  • Holiday Map
    Find holiday events, Santa photo opportunities, and light displays
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.