Eight Democratic lawmakers are urging President Barack Obama to declassify documents detailing the legal basis for his administration's use of drones, both against U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.
In a letter sent to Obama Monday, the lawmakers say they're "deeply concerned" about legal claims in a leaked Justice Department white paper that appear to be "overly broad."
"Every American has the right to know the underlying legal rationale that ensures due process," says the letter, organized by Rep. Barbara Lee of California and joined by the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers (D-Mich.)
"Authorizing the killing of American citizens and others has profound implications for our Constitution, the core values of our Nation, our national security and future international practice. The executive branch's claim of authority to deprive citizens of life, and to do so without explaining the legal bases for doing so, sets a dangerous precedent and is a model of behavior that the United States would not want other nations to emulate," the lawmakers write.
(PHOTOS: Pro, con: Best quotes about drones)
The letter, posted here, goes on to lay out several questions about the leaked policy, including how it is determined when capture of a terrorist suspect is "feasible" and how the term "imminent threat" is defined "in a way that strays significantly from its traditional legal meaning."
The other signers of the letter are Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Donna Edwards of Maryland, Mike Honda of California, Rush Holt of New Jersey and James McGovern of Massachusetts. [link to www.politico.com]