Obama's Police State: DHS to make self-guided bullet available to local police?
The Department of Homeland Security maintains a website containing information about thousands of technologies state and local law enforcement, as well as DHS sub agencies, can purchase with federal dollars. The website advertises a wide variety of military, law enforcement and first responder technologies available to departments large and small -- boasting everything from spy drones and covert surveillance cameras to bio-chemical detectors and oxygen tanks for firefighters.
Another feature of that FEMA site is a page advertising technologies still in some stage of R&D, tools that will become available to agencies after they are commercialized. Among the developing technologies the Department of Homeland Security is keeping a close eye on is a four-inch long "Self-Guided Bullet" that can chase down a target more than a mile away, making "up to thirty corrections per second while in the air."
While developed by the government’s Sandia research laboratory for the military, DHS seems to think the magic bullet will come in handy at home, too. A law enforcement shield at the top right of the webpage listing the tool, shown in a screenshot from the FEMA website below, indicates that it is "Part of the Law Enforcement Focus Area."
Why, yes, I think they would.
Kevin writes that Sen. Paul might have honed his questions better, but he did bring attention to what exactly the executive of this nation can do or have his appointees do. To us. To anyone. And that question has not been answered.
But Obama supporters have an answer:
Steve Vladeck, wrote Paul may have painted a “‘misleadingly very unattractive picture’ of the US government’s actual policy with regard to drone strikes,” but that reaction is because he trusts the Obama administration and “can’t imagine a scenario which it would resort to the use of force (or believe that it would be lawful for it to do so) in circumstances remotely resembling those described by Senator Paul.” He added, this is “what we think. Critically, it’s not because we actually know how the government conceives of its authority, or the limits thereof, in spite (if not because) of the ‘white paper.’”
What we need is a clear definition of what the executive can do concerning targeted killings-- maybe laws from Congress supporting the Bill of Rights would be a good thing.
Does Holder’s “no” answer actually indicate the president does not have the authority? Former Chief Guantanamo prosecutor Morris Davis said on “The Young Turks” on Current:
DAVIS: I don’t think we can afford to sit back and just say the Attorney General has answered the question for the administration. If you recall back during Libya, with the War Powers Act, the Administration shopped around and the Justice Department didn’t give them the answer they wanted. The Defense Department didn’t give them the answer they wanted. So, they went to the State Department to get Harold Koh to let them circumvent the War Powers Act. So, just because the Attorney General has said “no” to drone strikes that’s not binding on the president. I would feel much better hearing from the commander-in-chief himself.
The answer is it does not rule out whether he has the legal authority. Until citizens can read the law or some document with legal advice instructing the president on the boundaries of his powers, the American people will not be able to say without a doubt “no” the president does not have this power.
Moreover, it addresses whether a drone could be used, not whether law enforcement could carry out a kill mission or night raid-style operation on an American citizen. Marcy Wheeler did a post on February 26 about what a targeted killing in the US might look like. Supposing it was carried out by the FBI, it may be impossible to figure out a US citizen had his or her due process rights violated. A wrongful death suit could be brought, and the FBI could make all sorts of claims to conceal evidence and prevent the secrets around such an operation from becoming part of litigation.
Strong post, very strong comments.
Click through to the Gosztola post for internal links.