The White House on Tuesday defended its lethal drone program by citing the very laws that some in Congress once believed were appropriate in the years immediately after the 9/11 attacks but now think may be too broad.
"It has to be in the agenda of this Congress to reconsider the scope of action of drones and use of deadly force by the United States around the world because the original authorization of use of force, I think, is being strained to its limits," Sen. Chris Coons (D., Del.) said in a recent interview.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee likely will hold hearings on U.S. drone policy, an aide said Tuesday, and Chairman Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) and the panel's top Republican, Sen. Bob Corker, both have quietly expressed concerns about the deadly operations. And earlier this week, a group of 11 Democratic and Republican senators urged President Obama to release a classified Justice Department legal opinion justifying when U.S. counterterror missions, including drone strikes, can be used to kill American citizens abroad.
First detailed publicly by NBC News late Monday, the memo for the first time outlines the Obama administration's decision to kill al-Qaeda terror suspects without any evidence that specific and imminent plots are being planned against the United States.
"The threat posed by al-Qaeda and its associated forces demands a broader concept of imminence in judging when a person continually planning terror attacks presents an imminent threat," concluded the document.