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Senate Unanimously Approves Rubio, King Bill To Provide Independent Check On Targeting Decisions

Jun 12, 2014 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday evening, the Senate unanimously approved legislation authored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Angus King (I-ME) as part of the Fiscal Year 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act. The Rubio-King provision is based on legislation introduced in May 2013 as S.1035, the Targeted Strike Oversight Reform Act. The final provision was moved to the classified annex. Rubio and King requested that an unclassified summary of the provision be made available to the public. 

The Rubio-King provision requires the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to complete an independent assessment of the available intelligence supporting any determination by the Administration that an identified U.S. person is engaged in acts of international terrorism against the United States and meets the government’s criteria for approving the use of targeted lethal action. This legislation will require an independent assessment of the nomination of a U.S. person for lethal strike to be completed within fifteen days. It also requires the DNI to immediately notify Congress in writing of the results of the assessment, and the identity of the U.S. person.

“In passing this legislation, we are adding an additional layer of review to any consideration for lethal strike of a U.S. person who has joined enemy forces overseas. While in no way do we limit the commander-in-chief’s ability to conduct war, we are safeguarding that the executive branch fully considers any targeted lethal strike of a U.S. citizen by convening a special panel outside the chain of command to consider each case,” said Rubio. “In doing so, we are ensuring that even those U.S. citizens who betray their country and join enemy forces at war with the United States receive an extra level of scrutiny.”

“The President must have the ability to protect the American people from attacks, but as a country founded on the principle of the rule-of-law and dedicated to due-process, it’s contrary to our core values that the Executive Branch can appoint itself judge, jury, and executioner,” said King. “By adding an independent layer of accountability in the decision-making process when considering lethal action against a U.S. citizen engaged in terrorism, the King-Rubio provision takes a critical step in the right direction. Bipartisan solutions, like this, are vital to protecting our nation and securing the irrefutable constitutional rights that we expect as Americans.”