Somin Drone Testimony Cited in U.S. News

A U.S. News & World Report article regarding an amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act recently passed by the House cites Professor Ilya Somin's earlier testimony before a Senate subcommittee on the use of drones.

The amendment says "the Department of Defense may not use a drone to kill a citizen of the United States," but that protection "shall not apply to an individual who is actively engaged in combat against the United States."

In the testimony cited, Somin remarks that the legal standard for killing American civilians is that the person targeted must be a "combatant in a relevant war." Read about Somin's Senate testimony here.

According to the amendment's sponsor, Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), the amendment was introduced to help "protect U.S. citizens from government overreach."

To date the U.S. government has killed at least four Americans with drone strikes overseas.

Drone Strikes on American Citizens Banned in New Defense Bill Amendment, U.S. News & World Report, June 17, 2013. By Jason Koebler.

"In a May speech, President Barack Obama finally addressed America's targeted killing program. At the time, he said that he '[does] not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen—with a drone, or a shotgun—without due process. Nor should any president deploy armed drones over U.S. soil.'

"'But when a U.S. citizen goes abroad to wage war against America—and is actively plotting to kill U.S. citizens; and when neither the United States, nor our partners are in a position to capture him before he carries out a plot—his citizenship should no more serve as a shield than a sniper shooting down on an innocent crowd should be protected from a SWAT team,' Obama added."

Read the article