Nation & World News

Senate Confirms Author Of Drone Memo To Federal Bench

By Alan Greenblatt on May 22nd, 2014

The Senate voted Thursday to confirm David Barron, whose judicial nomination had been threatened by his work shaping the Obama administration’s drone policy.

The vote to seat Barron on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston was 53 to 45. Democrats Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined a unified Republican caucus in opposing the nomination.

Barron, a Harvard law professor, headed the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel early in President Obama’s term. In that capacity, he wrote at least one memo offering the legal rationale for using drone strikes to kill American citizens overseas who were suspected of terrorism.

That gave the green light to a 2011 U.S. drone strike in Yemen that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric who was born in the U.S.

“Some will say that Anwar al-Awlaki was evil and deserved to die,” Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul wrote in the Boston Herald. “I don’t necessarily disagree with his punishment. I disagree with how the punishment was decided. American citizens not on a battlefield must be convicted before they are sentenced to death.”

Paul kept up his argument on the Senate floor. But the Obama administration pressed hard for Barron’s nomination and salvaged it by agreeing, ahead of a procedural vote Wednesday, to release the memo in question.

During Senate debate, Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has sometimes battled with the administration on security and secrecy issues, said that Barron’s legal opinion had been correct.

“I agree with the conclusion Mr. Barron reached in what has now certainly become a famous memo,” Wyden said.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

New U.S. Rules Protect Giant Bluefin Tuna

To reduce the number of giant bluefin tuna killed by fishing fleets, the U.S. is putting out new rules about commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the western Atlantic.


In this handout image made available by the photographer American journalist Steven Sotloff (left) talks to Libyan rebels on the Al Dafniya front line on June 2, 2011 in Misrata, Libya. Sotloff was kidnapped in August 2013 near Aleppo, Syria.

Islamic State Claims It Has Beheaded Second American Journalist

The Islamist militant group had threatened to kill Steven Sotloff if the U.S. continued to conduct airstrikes in Iraq. Sotloff’s mother released a video last week pleading for the release of her son.


Celebrity Photo Leak Puts Spotlight On The Cloud, And Security

Publication of private photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities raises new questions about storing personal data online. Apple says its systems weren’t breached.


A woman gathers shells along the ocean near the Revel Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., early Tuesday. The casino resort has closed, a little over two years after opening with the promise of helping to renew Atlantic City.

After Just Two Years, Huge Atlantic City Casino Shuts Down

It cost $2.4 billion to build the Revel Casino Hotel. Its closure is part of a trend that will reportedly shutter a third of Atlantic City’s big gambling halls by the end of September.


NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday.

NATO To Create New ‘Spearhead’ Force For Eastern Europe

NATO leaders are expected this week to set up a rapid-response force to defend against potential Russian aggression.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments