Leahy: Judiciary Committee Will Hold Two Hearings On Drones

. . . Separate Hearings Focusing On Domestic Use and Targeted Killings

WASHINGTON  – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee, today announced two upcoming hearings on the issue of drones beginning with a full committee hearing next week.

The hearing on Wednesday, March 20th is titled “The Future of Drones in America: Law Enforcement and Privacy Considerations,” and will focus on privacy concerns surrounding the domestic use of drones. That hearing will be chaired by Leahy, who announced in January that the Committee would look in to this issue this year.

“Drones have the potential to assist law enforcement and other first responders, but they could also pose a significant threat to the privacy and civil liberties of millions of Americans.  This is another example of a fast-changing policy area on which we need to focus to make sure that modern technology is not used to erode Americans’ right to privacy,” Leahy said. “I look forward to hearing testimony on this issue next week.”  

On Tuesday, April 16th, the Constitution Subcommittee will hold a hearing on targeted killings. That hearing, entitled “Drone Wars:  The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing,” will be chaired by Durbin and will focus on the constitutional and statutory authority for targeted killings; the scope of the battlefield and who can be targeted as a combatant; and establishing a transparent legal framework for the use of drones.

“Targeted killing raises important legal and policy questions that require a public debate,” Durbin said. “President Obama has made it clear he wants to work with Congress to establish ‘a legal architecture’ for drone strikes to prevent abuses. My subcommittee will begin this important constitutional debate when we meet next month.”

Information on both hearings, including witness lists, will be available on the Committee’s website soon.

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