Thursday speech may shed light on where he stands on warrantless killings on U.S. soil

"I am your judge, executioner, jury, executioner, jailer, and if necessary, your executioner." -Judge Dredd

President Barack Obama's (D) Attorney General, Eric Holder defiantly defended the federal government's "right" to target American citizens with drone strikes.  He argued in recent publications that it might be necessary to kill Americans on U.S. soil with warrantless drone death strikes to prevent "terrorism".

Some Americans felt such killings were unconstitutional, while other Americans defended the President's stance, arguing the Constitution no longer applies in an age of terrorism.

But amidst a slew of other growing controversies including the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeting the President's political adversaries and the seizures of Associated Press phone records, the President's drone policies have come under considerable scrutiny.

President Obama
President Obama promises to be "transparent" about drone death strikes on American citizens. 
[Image Source: AP]

After initially trying to cover up his drone deathstrike policy, President Obama will reportedly look to address those controversies this week and attempt to live up to his promises of "transparency".  In a Thursday speech he is expected to "clarify" his position on warrantless drone death strikes on American citizens, according to the Associated Press and The Washington Post.

The President is under fire both from conservatives and members of his own party over his drone policies.

The administration is expected to push for dramatically expanded drone use in the Middle East as it pulls its remaining troops out of Afghanistan by 2014.  Meanwhile domestic use continues to quietly creep, as well, even as some states have passed laws limiting federal drone use.

The speech on drone policy was expected to be delivered earlier this month but the other controversies delayed it, according to sources.

Reaper drones
Armed Reaper drones are currently being used over the U.S. [Image Source: The Real Revo]

In the meantime the U.S. Department of Defense continues work to develop fully autonomous drones capable of killing human targets using facial recognition and other technologies, removing the human hand from the loop.  The DoD has thus far rejected pleas from robotics ethicists -- and even some military experts -- to sign treaties forbidding fully autonomous killing drones.

A fleet of fully autonomous armed drones could prove a powerful tool for Presidents in decades to come.  With a press of a button they could instantly schedule the warrantless death sentence of the President's domestic adversaries (the "terrorists", ostensibly) without the kind of pesky ethical/moral struggles that even elite U.S. troops might have with such policies.

Sources: AP, The Washington Post

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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