04/09/2013 11:45 am ET

Stephen Lynch, Ed Markey Raise Questions About Obama's Drones

Reps. Stephen Lynch and Ed Markey, who are running against each other for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, both raised questions about President Barack Obama's use of drones in a Monday night debate.

"What we've done here is by incautious use of drones, we've really hurt ourselves, hurt our standing in many ways," said Lynch in response to a question from a University of Massachusetts-Lowell student. He also said that the U.S. faces "limited choices."

Markey said he agreed with last month's filibuster led by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). "I'm glad that he stood up. I'm glad he demanded answers on what was the policy of the United States in deploying these drones," said Markey.

He also posed questions about the use of drones that he said needed answers: "Who makes the decisions as to when these drones are to be used? Who are the targets of these drones? Could the targets have been apprehended without the use of the drones? Did the target pose any kind of imminent threat to the United States? Would the use of the drones in fact create so much collateral damage and more harm is done to our interest?"

The two Democrats were clearly unafraid to criticize the targeted-killing program, which has been ramped up significantly during the Obama administration, though neither mentioned the president by name.

Yet Senate Democrats, with the exception of Ron Wyden of Oregon, did not join Paul's drones filibuster and struggled to explain their absence. Eight House Democrats -- not including Lynch or Markey -- sent a letter to Obama requesting the full release of information legally justifying the drone program.

Markey and Lynch are running for the seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry. The primary is on April 30.


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