The Blaze –
President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the next Homeland Security secretary has been a staunch defender of the U.S. drone program as a Pentagon lawyer and spoke out against enhanced judicial oversight of the program after leaving government service.
“I love this country, I care about the safety of our people, I believe in public service and I remain loyal to you Mr. President,” Jeh Johnson said at the White House Rose Garden announcement Friday. A former general counsel for the Defense Department, Johnson helped change the policy on military commissions at Guantanamo Bay and pushed for ditching the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule prohibiting gays from serving openly in the military.
During a March speech at Fordham University, months after leaving the Defense Department post, he supported the use of drones and dismissed the notion of a “drone court” to provide additional oversight for strikes. Advocates for such a court said the court would be similar to the FISA court.
“In my view targeted lethal force is at its least controversial when it is on its strongest, most traditional legal foundation,” Johnson said. “The essential mission of the U.S. military is to capture or kill an enemy. Armies have been doing this for thousands of years. As part of a congressionally-authorized armed conflict, the foundation is even stronger.”
He said that FISA oversight is an extension of Fourth Amendment protections, which is not applicable in war.