Beltway Confidential

Intel committee votes for 'red team' to sign off on drone strikes against Americans overseas

|
Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,Marco Rubio,Senate,Rand Paul,Drones,Filibuster

Senate Intelligence Committee lawmakers voted to have an independent "red team" panel review presidential decisions to target overseas Americans suspected of terrorism for drone strikes.

“This common sense legislation also improves accountability and oversight of counterterrorism policy by requiring this and future administrations to share important information about these programs with Congress and the intelligence community's inspector general," said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Rubio offered the legislation along with Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, who caucuses with Senate Democrats.

The legislation, which was attached to the intelligence funding bill, requires the director of national intelligence (currently James Clapper) to appoint an independent "red team" to review the case for drone strikes against overseas Americans suspected of terrorism.

"[T]he executive branch should not serve as the judge, the jury and the executioner in these cases, and I believe this amendment is a vital step forward in balancing our critical national security needs with the basic constitutional rights that we cherish as Americans,” King said.

The vote gives Rubio a policy victory to lay alongside the filibuster Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., launched against President Obama's drone program in March, which could come in handy if the two Tea Party senators both seek the Republican nomination in 2016.

Paul's filibuster forced Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to state on the record that the administration does not "have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on an American soil."

Rubio was a prominent supporter of Paul at the time, engaging in colloquy with him in an effort to give him a break from talking. King appeared on the Senate floor towards the end of that filibuster.

View article comments Leave a comment