POLITICS
02/10/2013 10:22 pm ET Updated Feb 10, 2013

'McLaughlin Group' Panel Debates Drone Program (VIDEO)

"The McLaughlin Group" panel had a heated discussion this week on President Obama's use of drone strikes.

While Mort Zuckerman and Eleanor Clift argued that the controversial program falls within Obama's presidential powers, Pat Buchanan and The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim agreed that the president's use of drones deserves heightened scrutiny.

"The administration claims that these are only used for high value targets who are an imminent threat. We dont know if that's true because there's no oversight, but we do know is that they've killed thousands and thousands of people," Grim said. "Now what kind of an organization has thousand and thousands and thousands of senior level people-- in fact, research into it says only about 2 percent of the people that were killed were senior level members of al-Qaeda, and more than a thousand civilians have died as a result of this."

"The president is basically claiming a right to execute Americans in foreign soil," Buchanan said, referencing the 2011 killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American who worked as a propagandist for al-Qaeda. Al-Awlaki was targeted in a CIA-led drone strike.

"Because you're a U.S citizen, you don't get to hide behind your passport when you're plotting attacks against this country on behalf of a declared enemy of this country," Clift said in defense of the decision to target Al-Awlaki despite his American citizenship.

Zuckerman agreed with Clift, stating that the president's priority is ensuring the safety of Americans, thus justifying the strikes.

"I do think this is absolutely, appropriately within the power of the presidency and should be that way," he said.

Watch the full segment above.

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