The PJ Tatler

Rubio, King Propose 'Red Team' Review Before Targeted Killings

Maine’s new Independent senator is joining with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in an effort to mandate independent analysis if the government decides to target an American.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Rubio, both members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today introduced the Targeted Strike Oversight Reform Act of 2013, or TSOR Act. It comes a day after the administration admitted killing four Americans in drone strikes and on the same day President Obama is giving a speech at the National Defense University on the administration’s counterterrorism policy.

The bill requires that an independent alternative analysis, commonly referred to as a “red-team analysis,” be conducted if the government is considering the legality or the use of targeted lethal force against a known U.S. person, Rubio’s office said.

“What this bill does that is unique is require an independent review of Administration activities that target American citizens or U.S. persons for lethal strike,” Rubio said. “This legislation provides a new layer of accountability and ensures the American people are informed through prompt notification to the congressional intelligence committees. In no way does this bill tie the president’s hands to defend the nation or impede operators from targeting terrorists knowingly engaged in acts of international terrorism against the United States who happen to be U.S. persons.”

“Our nation is facing serious threats to our security – and it is vital that our government have the tools and the authority to prevent terrorists from killing Americans. I also firmly believe that the Executive Branch being the prosecutor, the judge, the jury, and the executioner is very contrary to the traditions and laws upon which this nation was founded,” King said.

“As the president takes steps to shed more light on these policies, I believe this bill will complement those efforts by providing the framework for an independent review of such consequential decisions,” he added.

According to the legislation, once an intelligence agency has determined that targeted lethal force should be used against an American engaged in terrorism abroad several reviews would be triggered.

This includes notification to the Director of National Intelligence, the inspector general of the intelligence community, and the congressional intelligence committees regarding the identity of the U.S. person and the results of the red-team alternative analysis. The red team would be established by the DNI and be led by a person who doesn’t report to the intelligence agency making the request. They would have 15 days to complete the review and report back.