Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, including Peace and Security Task Force Chair Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and CPC Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) held a hearing on United States drone policy on Wednesday, May 8th, at 3:00 p.m. The oversight hearing focused on lethal drones operations abroad, questions of due process, the implications for executive and congressional war making authority, as well as the precedent being set as other nations rapidly adopt drone technology.
Reps. Lee, Grijalva, and Ellison recently sent a letter to the president asking the administration to explain the legal basis for drone strikes. “It is far past time that the White House openly discuss the drones program,” the authors wrote. “The President has full reign to protect the United States as Commander in Chief, but Congress has a vital oversight role in this issue, and we cannot shy away from those responsibilities.”
The following individuals provided their testimony at the hearing (click on the name for a transcript of each person’s testimony):
Adam Baron, a journalist currently based in Yemen, testified about the impact of drone strikes in Yemen.
Christopher Rogers, a lawyer and advocate at the Open Society Foundation who has investigated strikes in Pakistan for more than three years, testified about the impact of drone strikes in Pakistan.
Naureen Shah, a lawyer and lecturer at Columbia University, testified about the need to establish transparent investigation and compensation mechanisms.
Sarah Knuckey, a lawyer and professor at NYU School of Law and Advisor to the former UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Philip Alston, testified about investigations of drone strikes and international legal concerns.
Zeke Johnsen, Director of Amnesty International USA’s “Security with Human Rights Campaign”, testified about steps Congress can take to address concerns.