Victory! Rand Paul has delivered us from evil and single-handedly persuaded Eric Holder to denounce his tyrannical ways, admitting that it would not be constitutional for the President to order a drone strike against “an American not engaged in combat on American soil.” We’ve won! Right?
Well, maybe not. During the filibuster, it was repeatedly pointed out (both by Rand and his allies such as Ted Cruz, as well as dissenters such as Dick Durbin) that the President could order destruction to rain down from the heavens on someone if they were on a “battlefield” or if they presented an “imminent threat.”
And who gets to define the battlefield and choose whether a threat is imminent or not? You guessed it, the commander-in-chief! And good news, they’ve already defined the battlefield as everywhere. They declared that Anwar Al-Awlaki was an imminent threat despite the fact that he was a propaganda director not known to have engaged in direct combat at any point.
Let’s keep in mind that the President’s kill list is still top-secret, and there is no due process involved in deciding who gets placed on it. So basically, the current policy is that the President can kill Americans on American soil, so long as he claims they are an imminent threat. If you’d like to dispute the fact that you were an imminent threat, you are free to file a complaint from beyond the grave.