Targeted Killing

Robert Gates on Drones (and the Politics of Drones v. Enhanced Interrogation)

By Jack Goldsmith
Friday, February 15, 2013, 9:37 AM

Via this thoughtful essay by Pejman Yousefzadeh, I learned about this recent CNN interview by Candy Crowley of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.  Gates notes his support for drone strikes (he called them "immensely useful" and "very precise").  But he says that there should be "some check on the ability of the president" to engage in targeted killing of an American citizen, and suggests "something similar" to the FISA Court as a way to "give the American people confidence that there was in fact a compelling case to launch an attack against an American citizen."  When Crowley asked Gates to explain the different reactions to President Bush's enhanced interrogation program and the targeted killing by the Obama administration of a U.S. citizen, Gates smiled and said: "how about politics."  He added that  "some of our political leaders have no problem talking out of both sides of the mouth . . . ."