Scarborough: Drone strike memo “frightening”

posted at 12:41 pm on February 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Worth watching in its entirety, as Joe Scarborough pings the consequences of the drone-strike memo back and forth with Michael Isikoff, but the best reactions take place near the beginning of the video. Isikoff points out that the restrictive language in the memo is almost meaningless, and that it shifts the burden of proof to the target rather than the government. Scarborough calls this “frightening,” and argues that it far surpasses anything done by the Bush administration in the war on terror:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Ryu Spaeth makes the same point for The Week:

“If George Bush had done this, it would have been stopped.” That’s how MSNBC host Joe Scarborough characterized a Justice Department memo obtained by NBC News that outlines the Obama administration’s legal rationale for killing American citizens suspected of helping al Qaeda prepare a terrorist attack on the United States. Critics say the 16-page document gives President Obama essentially unlimited powers to target U.S. citizens without trial, raising a host of ethical and constitutional questions about the administration’s heavy reliance on drone missile attacks to enfeeble the terrorist network.

What criteria does the government need to meet to justify an attack on an American member of al Qaeda? According to the memo, an “informed, high-level official” within the government must determine that: 1) the individual in question poses “an imminent threat of violence attack against the United States”; 2) capture of the individual is “infeasible”; and 3) the attack is “conducted in a manner consistent with” the laws of war.

Upon even a cursory examination, however, these constraints are virtually meaningless. The government is not required to “have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons will take place in the immediate future.” Furthermore, the feasibility of capture can be determined by several factors, including if it would simply be too risky for U.S. personnel to conduct a capture operation, or if a capture operation would imperil a “relevant window of opportunity.” There are miles of space to maneuver within the so-called constraints.

Harold Koh was one who complained very publicly about the Bush-era interrogation justifications, and was rewarded with a key position in the Obama administration.  Spaeth points out that Koh has been one of the architects of this drone policy:

In 2010, Harold Koh — then the legal adviser of the State Department, and a fierce critic of the Bush administration’s terrorist policies — was the first Obama official to publicly lay out the broad legal justifications for drone strikes. Attorney General Eric Holder last year said the Constitution’s guarantee of due process does not necessarily entail a “judicial process” in situations in which national security is at stake. The hope in some quarters is that a more watertight legal framework will emerge, narrowing the use of drones to highly specific situations.

So far though, the Obama administration hasn’t produced that plan. Indeed, the administration hasn’t voluntarily offered up anything to the public that would shed light on its decisions.

Meet the new boss … worse than the old boss.


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Comment pages: 1 2

A Bush gift that keeps on giving.

Mr. Arrogant on February 5, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Harold Koh: poster boy for vicious, debauched and vilely hypocritical modern “liberalism.”

rrpjr on February 5, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Scarborough: Drone strike memo “frightening”

And then Joey promply crossed off his list for the
month an Obama negative story……now back to his regularly
scheduled bashing of all things Conservative….

ToddPA on February 5, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Do you think Scarborough even knows he’s on MSLSD?

M240H on February 5, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

freedomfirst on February 5, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Bush used techniques to make people afraid and give up information that saved American lives.

Bad.

Obama kills Americans on a whim.

Obama is awesome.

BobMbx on February 5, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Like I have said before. It doesn’t matter what the guy does, as long as its your guy doing it.

That rolls up the left quite well I think.

Gatsu on February 5, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Careful there Joe, you say nasty things about the King and you may end up on the list. Yes…it’s that simple.

katy on February 5, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Drones.

Obama’s strong hand and outstretched arm…..

Ben Hur on February 5, 2013 at 12:53 PM

What about the follow up strikes against first responders and funerals?

Ben Hur on February 5, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Yeah sure it’s frightening, that’s why you’re saying it on national TV…

MelonCollie on February 5, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Coming from Scarborough, this is meaningless. Scarborough helped put obama in office, twice, and he supports 99% of what obama does.

Pork-Chop on February 5, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Democrat slogans:

Drones: For when Americans need to be reminded we own them. FORWARD!

Weight of Glory on February 5, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Just wondering….it seems to me that Eduardo Saverin qualifies for a drone strike.

1) the individual in question poses “an imminent threat of violence attack against the United States”;

Liberals consider rich people to be evil by default, and taking your millions of dollars offshore does violence to the liberal ideology.

2) capture of the individual is “infeasible”; and

Due to DoD cuts, we don’t have the resources to go get him.

3) the attack is “conducted in a manner consistent with” the laws of war.

What, pray tell, doesn’t qualify here? Mustard gas?

BobMbx on February 5, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Drones: When legislation fails, you need a backup plan.

Weight of Glory on February 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Awww. Look. Scarborough is so cute when he puts up his token resistance to absolute statism.

besser tot als rot on February 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Drones: Because when you’re killing Americans, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?

Weight of Glory on February 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Now that Scarborough can claim he’s an ‘objective journalist’, he’s free to go back to kissing Obama’s arse and forget about this story. I’m sure the rest of MSM want it to go away, too, so they’ll likely ignore it to make that happen.

Liam on February 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM

besser is right.

token resistance.

futile.…but token, nonetheless.

ted c on February 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Who cares?

Obama is awesome./average libtard

sentinelrules on February 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM

well, they were going to die sometime anyway….!
/HRC

ted c on February 5, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Any body who thinks that the original country called the USA still exists,,,is smoking something. The basic fundamental underpinnings of this former country are completely rotted/gone. Yeah, there are pockets of “resistance” in places around the country but the tipping point has been reached. Change is not going to come through a completely broken and manipulated election system. It will happen either violently or not at all,,human nature does not change. [Although the attempt at human nature change is going on,,why else the complete all out attempt to "pacify"males or to defeat the concept of self defense.]. The remnant is going to have to hunker down in their respective areas of influence and try to live their lives. We have lived through the best years of the Republic and are now on the fast track to a country run by a despotic elite with different rules for the peasants. My heart cries for my country

retiredeagle on February 5, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Liberal logic:

Bush pouring water on 3 foreign Al Qaeda leader’s heads – impeachable offense

Obama vaporizing an American citizen from the air – totally cool

Chuck Schick on February 5, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Joe, broken clock

Harold now says the dems were too harsh on W

Thanks for nothing

cmsinaz on February 5, 2013 at 1:03 PM

+1 chuck

Spot on

cmsinaz on February 5, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Drones: If your’re not doing anything wrong, then why would you be affraid of that plane with a missile pointed at you?

Weight of Glory on February 5, 2013 at 1:04 PM

This would have been above the fold on nyt

cmsinaz on February 5, 2013 at 1:05 PM

these constraints are virtually meaningless.

Indeed. As I said earlier, we are going to whack Americans because…well, we feel like it. We had a theory, some intel maybe, a phone call, but what does it really matter right?

This is the formalization of the execution of US nationals by executive fiat.

Every single American with a brain should be up in arms about this.

Has this happened in the past? Sure. But the government wasn’t arrogant enough to make it an official foreign policy doctrine. And if that doesn’t give you pause then you really need to try thinking a little harder.

CorporatePiggy on February 5, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Meanwhile Joe and his media co-horts find NOTHING “frightening” about the Feds setting up a “Super Wifi” that THEY will have a kill switch for.

THAT is frightening.

PappyD61 on February 5, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Joe, you get up on the right side of the bed this morning? Last night, you finally got some, huh? ;-) Yep, that explains it.

tommy71 on February 5, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Don’t forget about the FAA approval for government agencies (like Homeland Security) to fly drones in US airspace:

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/faa-has-authorized-106-government-entities-fly-domestic-drones

What is to keep the feds from conducting drone attacks against US citizens within its own borders?

Stepan on February 5, 2013 at 1:09 PM

So, “Thou shalt not kill” has been scratched out and replaced by, “Thou shalt not use enhanced interrogation” by the Obama administration.

taznar on February 5, 2013 at 1:11 PM

retiredeagle on February 5, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Yes.

rrpjr on February 5, 2013 at 1:11 PM

This is the formalization of the execution of US nationals by executive fiat.

Every single American with a brain should be up in arms about this.

Has this happened in the past? Sure. But the government wasn’t arrogant enough to make it an official foreign policy doctrine. And if that doesn’t give you pause then you really need to try thinking a little harder.

CorporatePiggy on February 5, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Its easier to beg for forgiveness than to get permission.

BobMbx on February 5, 2013 at 1:18 PM

What about the follow up strikes against first responders and funerals?

Ben Hur on February 5, 2013 at 12:54 PM

You mean the double taps?

Known as the “double tap,” the tactic involves bombing a target multiple times in relatively quick succession, meaning that the second strike often hits first responders.

A 2007 report by the Homeland Security Institute called double taps a “favorite tactic of Hamas” and the FBI considers it a tactic employed by terrorists.

UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Christof Heyns said that if there are “secondary drone strikes on rescuers who are helping (the injured) after an initial drone attack, those further attacks are a war crime.”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/us-drone-tweets-reveal-double-tap-plan-2012-12#ixzz2K3AFvWXI

scalleywag on February 5, 2013 at 1:18 PM

I was going to say that Barack Obama has tested the bounds of the “Teflon Presidency” but I fear it’s worse than that.

We have seen the unveiling of the true Stepford Liberal.

No matter what Barack Obama does, it’s simply wonderful and he’s simply wonderful and everything is… simply…. wonderful. They stand and cheer as the money drains from their pockets and they slowly sink into the muck.

Have we lost our collective minds?

And I say WE because ALL of us re-elected this man. Both those who didn’t bother to vote and the official opposition. The bumbling, calcified excuse for a Republican Party had as great a hand in his re-election as did the man himself. How in the world did we underestimate the investment that the “Gimmie” state and the self-immolating liberal have in their god?

IndieDogg on February 5, 2013 at 1:19 PM

scalleywag on February 5, 2013 at 1:18 PM

I forgot my quotation marks, those paragraphs are from the article

scalleywag on February 5, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Yeah, Ok to kill Americans with a drone strike but don’t you dare water board a terrorist.

Don’t forget about the FAA approval for government agencies (like Homeland Security) to fly drones in US airspace:

Why do you think the census workers took GPS co-ordinates of all the homes they visited. Wait, I’m sorry, I’m just being a paranoid extremist.

JellyToast on February 5, 2013 at 1:24 PM

I dare Obama to drone-kill someone based on intelligence reports that he has weapons of mass destruction.

The Rogue Tomato on February 5, 2013 at 1:28 PM

I hope Mika Brzezinski gets waterboarded. What a hypocrite!

blammm on February 5, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Can we ask the UN to step in? Seems the liberals were fine with it during the election.

Tater Salad on February 5, 2013 at 1:31 PM

No problem.

First the average low info voter doesn’t even know what a drone is. Second, they watch the evening news where they’re told everything is coming up roses and there’s nothing to worry about because lord Obama is working hard just for them.

darwin on February 5, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Sounds like war crimes to me, and the UN is right to investigate.

scalleywag on February 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Worth watching in its entirety?? Sorry, but after Joe Assclown Scarborough went ballistic on Ted Cruz after the Hagel hearings, he isn’t worth watching at all. Just because a broken clock is right twice a day, doesn’t mean we have to slobber over the occasion Jon Stewart, Joe Scarborough, Bill Maher, et al when they have those rare moments that aren’t diarrhea of the mouth.

Jackalope on February 5, 2013 at 1:44 PM

No problem.

First the average low info voter doesn’t even know what a drone is. Second, they watch the evening news where they’re told everything is coming up roses and there’s nothing to worry about because lord Obama is working hard just for them.

darwin on February 5, 2013 at 1:39 PM

This.

Ward Cleaver on February 5, 2013 at 1:47 PM

In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004), the Court ruled that the President may hold enemy combatants, including Americans, but also held that detainees who are US citizens HAVE RIGHTS OF DUE PROCESS and MUST be able to challenge their enemy combatant status before an impartial court.

If a President cannot strip Americans, who are enemy combatants, of their due process rights in connection with detention, he cannot do the same by ordering their assassination.

LeftLogic©:

Waterboarding KNOWN terrorists, who are enemy combatants, is a war crime.

Depriving AMERICAN CITIZENS, who have not been indicted of anything, of due process and then assassinating them is peachy.

Resist We Much on February 5, 2013 at 1:49 PM

The msm/code pink brigade outrage will resume if a Republican gets elected President and decides to continue Obama’s drone strike policy.

heretic on February 5, 2013 at 1:52 PM

It’s hard to believe, but there is a significant chance that Obama and the Left are going to get ugly enough to cause a shooting war in this country.
When the time comes, I hope that the military is on the side of the angels.
Let me tell you who will have the higher morale and the more righteous cause in such a conflict. The angels. Meaning US citizens who are not Obama and his evil minions on the Left.

I’d hold on to those weapons and ammo at all costs.

justltl on February 5, 2013 at 1:55 PM

They told me if I voted for McCain, we’d see a continuation of the Bush Administration’s arrogant, lawless, opaque and unaccountable national security policies… and they were right!

Hayabusa on February 5, 2013 at 1:57 PM

The notion that the restrictive language in the drone-strike memo is almost meaningless, and that it shifts the burden of proof to the target rather than the government is a throwback to the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1929.

At Amritsar, Brigadier-General Reginald E.H. Dyer, without warning the crowd to disperse, blocked the main exits and ordered his men to fire upon an unarmed crowd for about ten minutes, till the ammunition supply was almost exhausted with approximately 1,650 rounds fired.
When asked about children being in the crowd at the inquiry, Dyer said that his troops were prepared to aid any that requested aid, but couldn’t explain just how that could be done.

The Nobel Committee should be proud.

J_Crater on February 5, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Oh how I miss Grow fins…

Scrappy on February 5, 2013 at 2:02 PM

It’s hard to believe, but there is a significant chance that Obama and the Left are going to get ugly enough to cause a shooting war in this country.
When the time comes, I hope that the military is on the side of the angels.

Don’t count on it.

They’ll be paying bounties for Tea Party members.

Stepan on February 5, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Scarborough calls this “frightening,”

Joey better watch out. He might look in his rear view mirror one day and find a drone closing rapidly. Criticizing The Chosen One has consequences.

GarandFan on February 5, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Not only is there a significant “chance” of a shooting war,,I would call it a certainty. Why else wage racial and class warfare. They are fighting with Alinskys rules of demonizing and then destroying the target. To think that his rules deal with only destroying through “rhetoric” and “elections” is naive. Have no doubt, they want an “incident” where they can swoop in and declare a govt takeover,,,,,this is how tyrants/despots operate. Those who say it can not happen here are woefully ignorant of history and human nature as well as the corrupting concept and actual wielding of power.

retiredeagle on February 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Meet the new boss … worse than the old boss.

Racist!

Sacramento on February 5, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Stepan on February 5, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Yep. I definitely wouldn’t count on it initially. The Media will work overtime to vilify those who would rise up against tyranny. And the military would do what they do. But, in time, most military members would see the light.

justltl on February 5, 2013 at 2:13 PM

I’m going to ask the question I ask every time, where is Congress on this? It’s not up to the media to point out these things. They could stop this President, but they don’t.

lea on February 5, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Oh how I miss Grow fins…

Scrappy on February 5, 2013 at 2:02 PM

We won’t see any trolls on this thread, because even their dual brain cells can figure out that there is absolutely no way to say that somehow Dear Leader is “different” than Bush.

Del Dolemonte on February 5, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Also, the idea that the military will not fire on civilians is probably not valid. The not so quiet purging of the military who do not bow to Skeeter’s ideas is scary. Every tyrant in history has done the same thing. This admin is constantly reshaping and brainwashing the troops.[Example is the POS Gen Dempsey,,he is the epitome of a pussified POC] The local population will need to fall back on their own defenses and possible local Sheriffs and maybe national Guard.

retiredeagle on February 5, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Liberal and democrats believe in nothing but staying in power. Laws, rules, morals mean nothing…all that counts is stay in power.
Obama could do the most terrible thing possible in the world and Democrats would look the other way, because better the absolute worst Democrat in office than any Republican.

albill on February 5, 2013 at 2:20 PM

When do we assemble the torches and pitchforks?

jawkneemusic on February 5, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Reference the” concept” of power. I do not know if anybody remembers when Nancy Pelosi became the speaker. She surrounded herself with all her children and when presented with the gavel said”Oh the power” and there was a sudden maniacal look in her eyes,,,,it was only a passing moment and even she caught herself as she sort of stopped in midsentence and of looked around. It was a telling moment. This is all about wielding power, not governing for the benefit of allowing freedom and liberty to flourish but to “wield” power in order to “force”adherence to an ideology.

retiredeagle on February 5, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Harold Koh

Scratch a Progressive, and a Fascist bleeds.

Another Drew on February 5, 2013 at 2:30 PM

When do we assemble the torches and pitchforks?

jawkneemusic on February 5, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Not all in one place and under a IR-proof roof. I’m serious.

One of the few things the feds really look for is an unexplained gathering of warm bodies, in the visual and infrared spectrums. Oh yes, and keep the noise down until you’re actually ready to rock.

MelonCollie on February 5, 2013 at 2:30 PM

When do we assemble the torches and pitchforks?

Now would be good, July-14th would be highly symbolic though.

Another Drew on February 5, 2013 at 2:31 PM

I’ve been reading comments on this from some left-wing sites and it’s become apparent that progressives still suffer from a bizarre form of Tourette Syndrome that causes them to scream, BUSH!!!! BUSH!!! BUSH!!! every time they encounter an example of Obama behaving badly.

Wendya on February 5, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Because if it ends just one American “terrorist’s” life, then it’s worth it.

RSbrewer on February 5, 2013 at 2:42 PM

In September and October 2014, drones will be “accidentally” crashing into Republican campaign offices across the nation, killing “terrorists” trying to take over the Senate.

Steve Z on February 5, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Every Republican interviewed on TV or radio or for a newspaper should bring up this topic.

Ask the interviewer – do you agree with Joe and Mika, and if not why not? And if so, what are you going to do about the double-standard you and your co-workers have helped create?

Oh, and either way, why should anyone ever believe a word that you or your employer say again?

drunyan8315 on February 5, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Obama W. Bush

Good Lt on February 5, 2013 at 2:59 PM

If it helps the party’s’ power the left is for it. They don’t care about abuse of power because they expect the power to be abused to their advantage.

We are at war and the media keeps most of America in the dark.

Stop whinning!
Organize!
Fight.

GardenGnome on February 5, 2013 at 3:05 PM

Incompetence in action. So this means Adam Gadahn is toast?

jake49 on February 5, 2013 at 3:12 PM

The liberals are clearly uncomfortable at having to defend this.

Someone needs to take the Obama administration to court. Then impeach his ass!

Tater Salad on February 5, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Off topic, but this is worth watching if you all haven’t seen it:

Sandy Hook father gives an earful to the Connecticut congress or whatever regarding gun control proposals.

Funny how that’s not all over the news, isn’t it?

justltl on February 5, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Why do you think the census workers took GPS co-ordinates of all the homes they visited. Wait, I’m sorry, I’m just being a paranoid extremist.

That makes me extremely glad that I did not participate in the last census.

A census under Obama?

What could go wrong?

Stepan on February 5, 2013 at 3:47 PM

The liberals are clearly uncomfortable at having to defend this.

Tater Salad on February 5, 2013 at 3:19 PM

We have one over on the other thread (name of nonpartisan) bravely trying. Not doing too well though.

Del Dolemonte on February 5, 2013 at 3:53 PM

How soon before they start striking Americans that some “informed, high-level official within the government” determines are domestic al Qaeda ‘leaders’?

This government is insanely out of control.

xmanvietnam on February 5, 2013 at 3:58 PM

The water in the pot gets ever warmer and the frog doesn’t notice. Then he is cooked.
Who said “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty?”

kemojr on February 5, 2013 at 4:09 PM

What criteria does the government need to meet to justify an attack on an American member of al Qaeda? According to the memo, an “informed, high-level official” within the government must determine that:

So, would these be the same “High ranking officials” who handled Benghazi so competently?

Liam1304 on February 5, 2013 at 4:17 PM

justltl on February 5, 2013 at 3:29 PM

his testimony was very good. keep passing it around. gotta get the message out!

tom daschle concerned on February 5, 2013 at 4:25 PM

At last, an explanation of what happened in Benghazi.
They used to protect US citizens abroad, now they mark them for death.

J_Crater on February 5, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Why do you think the census workers took GPS co-ordinates of all the homes they visited. Wait, I’m sorry, I’m just being a paranoid extremist.

JellyToast on February 5, 2013 at 1:24 PM

The coordinates of any place (home or otherwise) are easy to obtain. What would be the point of this?

Besides, this is backwards; if you returned the census form, then they DIDN’T visit. They only visited addresses with no response. They don’t need you to open your door to take GPS coordinates.

Think!!!

Pythagoras on February 5, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Hypocrites.

Terrye on February 5, 2013 at 4:57 PM

“If George Bush had done this, it would have been stopped.”

Really? Why should something so sensible as taking out a traitor fighting with our enemy be even debatable?

Chessplayer on February 5, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Arw we going to have to bring up an eye for an eye? I don’t know anyone who would miss any government official. Anyone.

Of course, my statement is hypothetical, because suggesting violence would be wrong.

madmonkphotog on February 5, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Besides, this is backwards; if you returned the census form, then they DIDN’T visit. They only visited addresses with no response. They don’t need you to open your door to take GPS coordinates.

Think!!!

Pythagoras on February 5, 2013 at 4:55 PM

The census workers went to every house and took a GPS reading…before the census forms even went out. In most cases, they did it from the street or sidewalk in front of the house.

Solaratov on February 5, 2013 at 6:49 PM

I don’t care. Obama is awesome!

/s/

Solaratov on February 5, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Is it too late to post some more Skeetergate photos?
http://www.thepeoplescube.com/peoples-blog/caption-barry-gets-his-gun-t10649.html

onlineanalyst on February 5, 2013 at 7:02 PM

stay out of my airspace.

johnnyU on February 5, 2013 at 7:53 PM

Drones: Obama’s Ted Nugent solution.

NoPain on February 5, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Soooooo….the coincidence of where you are born some how should grant you an extra dose of humanity. This GubRmint and the hacks that propagandize it are pure and simple EVIL.

roflmmfao

donabernathy on February 5, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Obama sat in the living room of a known terrorist, too. Just sayin’

lostinjrz on February 6, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Comment pages: 1 2