Attorney General Eric Holder today sent Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) a letter addressing his filibuster question on drones — one of many questions, at least.
“It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no,” Holder wrote.
And that was the entire letter.
“Senator Paul has raised questions about the president’s authority to use lethal force within the United States, which John Brennan and the attorney general have both answered. Today, Senator Paul raised an additional question, and the attorney general has answered it,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said at today’s briefing, reading the totality of Holder’s letter out loud.
“The issue here isn’t the technology. The method does not change the law. The president swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, and he is bound by the law. Whether the lethal force in question is a drone strike or a gun shot, the law and the Constitution apply in the same way,” Carney said. “…You can make sort of wild hypotheticals, but that doesn’t — they don’t change the law.”
“The law is the law and the Constitution is the Constitution. And I think that’s what the attorney general was saying.”
UPDATE: “This is a major victory for American civil liberties and ensures the protection of our basic Constitutional rights. We have Separation of Powers to protect our rights. That’s what government was organized to do and that’s what the Constitution was put in place to do,” Paul said. “I would like to congratulate my fellow colleagues in both the House and Senate and thank them for joining me in protecting the rights of due process.”