Senator Rand Paul is winning support in the fight to release controversial Justice Department memos pertaining to using drone strikes against American citizens.

Today Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said that he is also calling on the Senate to block the nomination of David Barron, the author of at least one of the memos, to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals by the Obama administration.

In his role as a lawyer at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, Barron wrote a memo, and may have had a hand in at least nine others, that argue there is a legal right to target American citizens overseas with drone strikes.

“We know that the Department of Justice relied on the legal arguments Professor Barron formulated to justify the targeted killing of an American citizen in a tribal region of Yemen in September, 2011,” Senator Grassley said during a Senate floor speech, referring specifically referring to the assassination of the cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

“This nomination cannot go forward unless this body – every member of this body – is given access to any and all secret legal opinions this nominee wrote on this critical issue,” Grassley added.

Grassley also urged other Senators to properly and thoroughly review Barron’s writings, which the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already ordered the government to release.

“Are senators who are up for reelection in a few short months ready to vote on this nominee without knowing the full extent of his writings on a topic as serious as the killing of an American citizen by a drone?” he asked.

“Are those senators ready to go home to face their constituents and explain that they cast a vote on that nominee without knowing all the facts?” he added.

Rand Paul has been spearheading the effort to make the memos public, penning a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying that he will do everything in his power to stop Barron’s nomination until the memos are released.

“The constitutionality of this policy has been the subject of intense debate in our country since its implementation,” Paul wrote.

Paul has rejected an offer from The White House to let Senators read the memo. “A federal court has ordered the public release of a redacted legal memo authored by Barron and I believe that anything short of that is inadequate,” Paul said in a statement released Tuesday. “I will continue to oppose this nomination until the document is released.”

Paul’s efforts are also being supported by the ACLU. “There is no other president in modern American history who has ordered the killing of an American citizen away from a battlefield without a judicial order, and by extension, there is no other federal government lawyer in modern American history who authorized the killing of an American citizen away from a battlefield,” said Christopher Anders, an ACLU attorney and co-author of the organization’s letter to the Senate.

Grassley’s support of Paul’s efforts could now spur other Senators to get on board. Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Mark Udall (Colo.) have frequently objected to the use of drone strikes against American citizens by the government. If they can be swayed, Barron’s nomination could be used as a bargaining tool to get the memos into public hands.


Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’, He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

Related Articles