Alberto Gonzales reacts to controversy over drone policy
Former U.S. attorney general weighs in
- Duration 5:43
- Date Feb 6, 2013
Former U.S. attorney general weighs in
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We have acknowledged United States.
I think sometimes we use remotely piloted aircraft to conduct targeted strikes against specific al-Qaeda terrorists.
In order to prevent attacks.
On the United States -- to save American lives and we conduct those strikes because they are necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats to stop -- prevent future attacks and -- save American lives.
He strikes -- legal.
They're ethical and otherwise.
Well that was white house Press Secretary Jay Carney defending the Obama administration's drone policy.
As controversy mounts over using drones to even target Americans.
This comes after a leaked memo surfaced yesterday outlining the legal rationale for killing Americans if they aren't even suspected.
Of being leaders of al-Qaeda or an associated terror group.
Former US attorney general Alberto Gonzales is counsel for -- wall law firm and professor at Belmont university and he joins me now hello mr.
Before I get to you or.
Impressions of the drug program I do want to hear those can just take us back years after the years say 2005.
Through 2000 and said then.
When you -- attorney general.
In the White House and what -- date in your life was like as you.
Were under small -- For a deep anti terror tactics that people.
Well it's -- the attorney general part of the job of the attorney general to take on some of these difficult task and obviously.
President Bush took extraordinary measures to protect America measures which we all believed were lawful and that anytime -- -- you're doing anything that's controversial.
On -- of people have been happy about it part of my job.
As attorney general was to go up on the hill to give interviews to talk to the various groups and explain why.
While we're doing with not only effective but actually constitutional.
Under the law so it's it's part of the job and not quite frankly I think there's a double standard that's applied by the media.
Between administrations -- just a way to has.
It's not fair bit but I think we all understand in -- pretty obvious.
Now with respect to -- the level scrutiny.
That some members of the media and some interest groups placed upon the actions of an administration based upon who with who the president has.
Of course the irony is bit the tactics that the Bush Administration used such as wiretapping.
Or water board -- And certainly a -- -- -- -- against those and legal experts debated those ad nauseam during the Bush Administration.
But the killing of suspects.
Before a trial.
Seems much more drastic and that's what the drone program does so.
How do you explain this double standard the fact that there doesn't seem to be the outrage about this.
Well -- part of -- may stem from the fact that we met we don't have all the information.
I suspected that the Department of Justice has -- very much more lengthy legal opinion it's classified.
And what happened is is after interest by congress about the program.
The department took that class father -- opinion sanitize it.
And what was disclosed yesterday there reflects that documents so there there there may be additional -- that may be additional information facts.
That we don't know about that that the program which may of course explain why.
The level of scrutiny isn't as high as that as we saw back with respect to some the tactics used by the Bush Administration.
You're being very kind of mr.
Gonzales that and that's the that is a very nice lens by which to look at his double standard.
And maybe it's that we don't have enough information but but -- Press Secretary Jay Carney came out this week he gave -- The administration's rationale and as much as they talk about it.
For why they use this drone program.
And he said basically look where even -- civilians are killed yes that's an unfortunate byproduct basically on her prison.
But it's much less than would happen if there were any sort of ground invasion.
What do you think about the use of the drone program.
I think it -- listen once -- What has designated as an enemy combatant they're legitimate target and they can be taken out by the president and any time as it.
We were confronting an enemy on the battlefield with a rifle a pointed at us.
The question as far as I'm concerned is whether or not the president on his own.
Can designate an American citizen as an enemy combatant and that was an issue that was raised in that in the Supreme Court decision upon the where the court seem to say that a president on his own could not designate an American citizen.
As in any combat for purpose of the tension.
So if that's a fact -- the question I think it does raise a question -- not the president on his own has the authority to designate an American citizen.
As -- enemy -- for purposes of -- kill.
Now wants an American citizen is legitimately designated as enemy combatant.
Then I think the president is commander in chief should have the authority to execute on that designation but again -- that first question.
But I think raises some some interesting questions and I don't know today if this were -- -- than ever which the Supreme Court.
I don't know if today there are five votes of support the authority of the present to to do that on his own without any kind of any kind of opportunity for the the American citizen to present his case.
A without any -- oversight or review by a mutual decision maker.
So I I think there are some serious questions here and and I I believe the CIA direct director designate.
John Brennan's gonna -- face a pretty tough questioning on Thursday it sure sounds.
Like it sounds like this will come up.
At that confirmation hearing -- Gonzales former attorney general under the Bush Administration thanks so much for joining us of your thoughts.
Good to be with you.