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Rand Paul: Obama's Drone Policy Involves 'Looking At Some Flashcards' Instead Of Due Process

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is a longtime critic of the Obama's administration's drone program. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is a longtime critic of the Obama's administration's drone program. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday he appreciated that President Barack Obama had responded to criticism of his drone program in a speech last week, but that he wasn't sure the White House fully understood the problem.

"I was pleased with his words and I was pleased that he did respond to this. However, there still is a question in my mind of what he thinks due process is," Paul said on ABC's "This Week." "You know, due process, to most of us, is a court of law, it's a trial by a jury. And right now their process is him looking at some flashcards and a Powerpoint presentation on 'terror Tuesdays'" -- Paul made air quotes with his fingers -- "in the White House. For a lot of us, that's not really due process."

Obama gave a speech on Thursday pledging to better codify the drone program. But he also defended it as a military tactic.

"To say a military tactic is legal, or even effective, is not to say it is wise or moral in every instance," Obama said. "For the same human progress that gives us the technology to strike half a world away also demands the discipline to constrain that power –- or risk abusing it. That's why, over the last four years, my administration has worked vigorously to establish a framework that governs our use of force against terrorists, insisting upon clear guidelines, oversight and accountability that is now codified in Presidential Policy Guidance that I signed yesterday."

Obama repeated in his speech a pledge to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

Paul said Gitmo does not need to be closed, but that things there need to change for the "bad guys" who are being held. Instead, he said there should be more due process.

Paul also said due process should have been used when dealing with Anwar al-Aulaqi, an American citizen accused of working with the terrorist group al-Qaeda and who was killed abroad. Drone strikes also killed three other U.S. citizens -- Samir Khan, Jude Kenan Mohammed and Abd al-Rahman Anwar al-Aulaqi, the 16-year-old son of Anwar al-Aulaqi -- who "were not specifically targeted by the United States," according to the administration, which finally confirmed last week the widely reported deaths.

Paul said he does not necessarily oppose the death penalty for Americans suspected of terror, but believes they should first be tried for treason, either in person or in absentia.

"That's something that separates us from the rest of the world, is that we adjudicate things by taking it to an independent body who is not politically motivated or elected," Paul said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), speaking on "Fox News Sunday," said Obama's speech was "tone deaf" and could put America in danger.

"We show this lack of resolve, talking about the war being over," the South Carolina Republican said. "What do you think the Iranians are thinking? At the end of the day, this is the most tone-deaf president I ever could imagine, making such a speech at a time when our homeland is trying to be attacked literally every day."

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