Sen. Dick Durbin presided over the Senate during much of Rand Paul’s filibuster on drone strikes against Americans on American soil and was one of the few Democrats to ask the Kentucky Republican a question. Durbin asked whether the government would have had the authority to shoot down the commercial jet that was headed for the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001. That plane ended up crashing in a Pennsylvania field after a struggle between passengers and hijackers.
“I don’t think this is such a clear and easy situation,” Durbin said.
“Targeted killing raises important legal and policy questions that require a public debate,” Durbin said. “President Obama has made it clear he wants to work with Congress to establish ‘a legal architecture’ for drone strikes to prevent abuses. My subcommittee will begin this important constitutional debate when we meet next month.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy also announced a hearing on the domestic use of drones next Wednesday, March 20th. That hearing, titled “The Future of Drones in America: Law Enforcement and Privacy Considerations,” will focus on privacy concerns surrounding the domestic use of drones. That hearing will be chaired by Leahy, who announced in January that the Committee would look in to this issue this year.
“Drones have the potential to assist law enforcement and other first responders, but they could also pose a significant threat to the privacy and civil liberties of millions of Americans. This is another example of a fast-changing policy area on which we need to focus to make sure that modern technology is not used to erode Americans’ right to privacy,” Leahy said. “I look forward to hearing testimony on this issue next week.”