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Cyberweapons, Drone Strikes Circumvent Congress' Constitutional Authority

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The United States' use of cyberweapons against Iran threatens to undermine the critical and sensitive ongoing negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. Building trust is a significant component of these negotiations, and the use of cyberweapons may break down that trust and leave us vulnerable to similar attacks.

Technology has changed the nature of modern warfare. Drone strikes, "precision" incursions and cyberweapons are examples of these changes. The war in Libya proved that war does not necessarily mean boots on the ground. In Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, unmanned drones kill suspected militants and civilians. Yet these tactics may ultimately undermine our national security. One only needs to understand that this is in fact warfare by asking what the United States would do if we were targets of similar attacks.

If an American citizen were to launch a cyber attack on an American facility, it would be a crime. What happens when one country launches such an attack on another? If the purpose is to steal information, it would be considered espionage. What if the purpose is to damage or destroy? What if the target of that sabotage is a nuclear weapons facility?

Our increasing reliance on cyberweapons and unmanned drones should concern Congress. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution makes clear that only Congress has the power to declare war. No administration should be permitted to assert high-tech exceptions to the U.S. Constitution.

Congress must reassert its constitutional authority and conduct proper oversight of government's "counterterrorism" policies regardless of the technology being used. Cyberweapons and unmanned drones must be subject to the same laws, oversight and accountability as so-called "conventional weapons." It is time for Congress to weigh in and work to create a legal framework which reflects the changing face of modern-day warfare in order to protect the United States Constitution, our citizens and the long-term security of our nation.