Saturday, June 15, 2013

Senator Rand Paul on targeted drone strikes against American Citizens

In this interview with Senator Rand Paul he talks Tech, Civil Liberties, Keeping the Government Out of Your Email, and many areas of civil liberties, but I especially wanted to share Paul's views on targeted assassination of US citizens without due process.

Source: Wired Danger Room

Danger Room: : It’s been about three months since your Senate filibuster. What do you think you’ve changed?

Senator Rand Paul: We have the president thinking about civil liberties and actually responding and saying that he believes in due process. Now if we could just have a little tutorial on what due process is I think we’d be making real progress.

Danger Room: You’re referring to Obama’s claim that Americans accused of terrorism don’t have to be hauled in front of a court before execution?

Rand Paul: I just can’t imagine that any kind of definition of due process wouldn’t include a court or a jury or a lawyer, it would include only someone from a political branch of government. It almost seems to be absurd that someone would call that due process. That being said, I’m only talking about an American citizen being targeted. When we’re talking about people fighting in wars or actively engaging in combat, I’m not talking about that either, American citizen or not. But for an American citizen not engaged in combat, due process is not someone who’s an elected politician deciding whether they should die or not.

Danger Room: And that holds for you even if the government accuses an American of being a terrorist, as with the executed radical preacher Anwar Awlaki?

Rand Paul: We’re talking about extraordinary circumstances. I have no doubt that the evidence indicates Awlaki was a bad person and was a terrorist. But I would have tried him for treason. I would have presented the evidence in court. If it was classified, I would have gone into closed session of court. But I still would have had a judge and a jury convicting him. If he won’t come home, he could have been tried in absentia. I would make the process such that he can’t appeal it for a decade or so. You have to have a fairly swift process. But you can’t have someone who runs for office on a political label, someone from the political branch of government [sentence someone]– that’s the real reason we divided the judiciary into a separate and co-equal branch.

Danger Room: What did you think of Obama’s speech on targeted killing and drones last week? Even if he’s not where you are, he seems to be edging in some of the directions you laid out.

Rand Paul: I was pleased that he responded to us. He talked about the idea and the need for due process. Disappointed, though, that a constitutional law professor thinks due process doesn’t include a court, a trial, a jury or a lawyer. That concept of due process almost is meaningless. So I’m glad that he’s trying but he needs to try a little harder.

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