clear
Monday February 8th, 2016 1:51PM

Holder promises more openness on national security

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General Eric Holder promised the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the Obama administration will share more information with Congress and the American people about national security policies, particularly the government's use of drone strikes.

Holder's comments came at a hearing where both Democratic and Republican senators said they must have access to Justice Department memoranda that form the legal underpinning for precisely when the administration can use drone strikes to kill a suspected terrorist, even if the person is a U.S. citizen.

Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the judiciary panel should have the legal opinions, some of which were provided recently to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and the Senate Intelligence Committee, which she chairs.

"I heard you and the president has heard you," Holder said. The attorney general said he is confident that if the public had more information there would be greater comfort the administration is acting in conformity with the law.

Without elaborating, Holder said a number of steps are going to be taken and that he expects "the president will be talking about this."

Fueling the senators' questions was a March 4 letter that Holder wrote to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who asked whether, in the administration's view, the president has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil.

In his letter, the attorney general said the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military use of such force in circumstances of a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered at Pearl Harbor and on Sept. 11, 2001.

But Holder emphasized that the administration has no intention of carrying out drone strikes in the United States. Holder said Rand's hypothetical is unlikely "and one we hope no president will ever have to confront."

At Wednesday's hearing, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tried to get a "yes" or "no" answer from Holder.

"Does the Constitution allow a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil who doesn't pose an imminent threat to be killed by the U.S. government?" asked Cruz.

"You have to look at all of the facts. But on the facts that you have given me, and this is a hypothetical, I would not think that in that situation the use of a drone or lethal force would be appropriate," Holder replied.

Cruz pressed on and eventually, the attorney general said "translate my appropriate to `no.' I thought I was saying `no.' All right? `No.'"

On another topic, Holder urged Congress to confront gun violence by requiring universal background checks, imposing tougher penalties on traffickers and banning high-capacity magazines and military-style assault weapons.

Holder said Congress should eliminate what he called misguided restrictions requiring federal agents to allow older weapons to be imported into the United States.

The attorney general also urged senators to confirm a new director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The agency has been without a Senate-confirmed leader for six years. ATF has been mired in a long-running controversy stemming from a botched gun smuggling investigation in Arizona. ATF agents lost track of about 1,400 of more than 2,000 weapons that the operation identified as likely to have been illegally purchased by so-called `straw' buyers working on behalf of gun smuggling rings.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 2 years ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 2 years ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 2 years ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 2 years ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.
2:23PM ( 2 years ago )
Congress letting 55 tax breaks expire at year end
In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty - once again - for millions of individuals and businesses.
2:21PM ( 2 years ago )
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 2 years ago )
Politics
Search for Missouri couple wanted for crimes across the South, including Ga., ends with one suspect dead and the other wounded
A weeklong search for a Missouri couple wanted in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended with one suspect dead and the other wounded Friday, after authorities say they chased the pair across the highway and through a rural neighborhood and exchanged gunfire with them in Florida's Panhandle.
By The Associated Press
9:57PM ( 2 days ago )
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 5 days ago )
Cruz (R) expected to claim conservative Iowa caucus victory, with Clinton (D) and Sanders (D) deadlocked among liberal vote
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept to victory in Iowa's Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were deadlocked in a tight race.
By The Associated Press
10:55PM ( 6 days ago )
America, its politics in flux as voting begins
On the eve of the first contest on the 2016 presidential election calendar, some voters are pushing for bolder, more uncompromising action, with an intensity that has shaken both the Republican and Democratic establishments.
By The Associated Press
9:00PM ( 1 week ago )
Piedmont College biology professor says getting rid of mosquito breeding areas key to control of Zika virus
The World Health Organization says the Zika virus is likely to spread to every area of the U.S. where the mosquito that carries it can be found - and that includes Georgia.
By Russell Brown
9:38AM ( 1 week ago )