MPAC Submits Testimony at First Congressional Hearing on Drones

May 9, 2013

Last month, MPAC submitted a statement for the record at the first congressional hearing on “Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing.” Chaired by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the hearing examined the Obama administration’s use of the drone program and whether continued use of the program will have checks and Congressional oversight.

MPAC applauded the committee chair and its members for holding the unprecedented and timely hearing.

The statement read in part:

“We have done extensive work on highlighting the use of drones in our counterterrorism and national security efforts. There are real implications in using drone strikes as part of our national security and counterterrorism strategy. As such, we urge Congress to follow your leadership and take increased measures to learn and understand the drone program as well as ensuring transparency regarding the program and establishing up-to-date policy and oversight.”

The hearing featured six experts including: Gen. James Cartwright, US Marine Corps (Ret.); Farea Al-Muslimi, Sana’a Yemen; Peter Bergen, Director of National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation; Rosa Brooks, Professor of Law at Georgetown University; Col. Martha McSally, US Air Force (Ret.) and Ilya Somin, Professor of Law at George Mason University.

The administration did not provide any hearing witnesses before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. Durbin said he was disappointed in their lack of participation on this important subject.

"More transparency is needed to maintain the support of the American people and the international community," said Durbin, who heads the subcommittee, calling on the White House to provide further details on the assessment of "its legal authority to engage in targeted killings and the internal checks and balances involved in U.S. drone strikes."

The diverse viewpoints on the use of drones made for a healthy discussion with all participants agreeing that transparency and oversight are two factors that need to be heavily considered when utilizing and implementing the program.



View All


Help us continue our work with a quick
one-time or monthly donation.