Pelosi on Obama Use of Drones in the U.S.: ‘I Don’t Have That Fear’

By Patrick Burke | March 7, 2013 | 1:37pm EST

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House minority leader. (AP photo)

( - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she does not have the fear of the Obama administration using drones against American citizens on U.S. soil.

“I don’t think that the administration has any intention of using drones in the United States against American citizens or otherwise. So I don’t have that fear,” Pelosi said Thursday during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill.

A Capitol Hill reporter asked Pelosi: “Chad mentioned Rand Paul’s filibuster last night. He was joined on the floor by one of the Democrats on the Intelligence Committee who raised his concerns about the administration has the authority to use drones to kill Americans on American soil. You served on the Intelligence Committee at one time. Do you share Sen. [Ron] Wyden’s (D-Ore.) concerns?”

Pelosi responded: “What I share is the concern we all have that Congress have sufficient oversight over the Executive Branch when it comes to issues that relate to the security of our country or any issue for that matter.”

She added: “But this is where the great coming together that our country and our Founders experienced in their own time because they were always under threat, witness the War of 1812, and the challenge to balance freedom and security. I don’t think that the administration has any intention of using drones in the United States against American citizens or otherwise. So I don’t have that fear.

“But I do support and have been a fighter for, whoever the president is, Congress being informed and having sufficient oversight over the actions they might take in relationship to the balance between freedom and security,” Pelosi said.

During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said it was neither constitutional nor appropriate to use drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil. reported that Holder said the use of drones against US citizens on US soil was unconstitutional after being pressed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a former prosecutor, on the issue.

“Again, General Holder, I have to tell you, I find it remarkable that in that hypothetical, which is deliberately very simple, you are unable to give a simple, one-word, one-syllable answer ‘no.’ I think it is unequivocal that if the U.S. government were to use a drone to take the life a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil and that individual did not pose an imminent threat that that would be a deprivation of life without—“ Cruz said after a string of similarly worded questions.

Holder replied: “Let me be clear. I’ve not been clear. I said that the use of lethal force, and I’m saying drones, guns or whatever would not be appropriate in that circumstance.”

On Tuesday into early Wednesday morning, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) led a filibuster blocking the nomination of John Brennan to CIA Director in an attempt to obtain the Obama administration’s assurance that it will not deploy drones against American citizens.

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