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February 9, 2013

Congress grappling with controversial unmanned strikes

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

But she said she and senators including Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois and Pat Leahy of Vermont and Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa are all looking at the concept of how to regulate the strikes.

On Friday, Republicans were circumspect, with prominent members such as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers of Michigan declining to comment, or reserving judgment until they can see more details.

“I don’t know that we can take that exact model and apply it to every tough policy decision that confronts the federal government,” said Mac Thornberry of Texas, a member of the House committee. “If someone is shooting at you, you can’t go to a court and ask them to shoot back,” he said.

Many Democrats were more comfortable with the notion.

“A layer of judicial review could ensure additional checks on the designation of targeted individuals and determine whether sufficient evidence has been produced,” said Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.

Said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.: “I don’t have in mind to redefine the circumstances in the memo” describing the legal rationale behind the strikes “but rather set up a process for prospective or retrospective analysis of how drone strikes are made,”

The White House allowed lawmakers on the Senate and House intelligence committees to see the classified advice to the president describing the legal rationale behind drone strikes ahead of the Brennan confirmation hearing — a pre-emptive effort meant to answer increasing questions from lawmakers about the program, and also to head off threatened holds on the Brennan nomination.

But that release has produced further demands for access and information. The intelligence committee members want their staff to read the documents, and the congressional Judiciary committees are also demanding access.

———

Follow Dozier on Twitter: http://twitter.com/KimberlyDozier

 

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