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4 Vienna Online J. on Int'l Const. L. 359 (2010)
The Constitutionality of the Predator Drone Program

handle is hein.journals/vioincl4 and id is 353 raw text is: IN ARTICLES
Jamie L. Kleidman
The Constitutionality of the
Predator Drone Program
In the wake of September 11, 2001 (9/11) the international playing field
changed; the Executive Branch armed with the AUMF, claimed broad executive
power to do almost anything to fight the global war on terror. This vast
proclamation of executive power included the ability to use covert action, and
since 9/11, covert programs, such as the CIA's Predator drone program, have
been used by the past two administrations to combat terrorism.
The CIA's Predator program currently targets suspected terrorists around the
world, including those in countries like Pakistan and Yemen where U.S. armed
forces are not present.2 A Predator drone is a remote controlled, unmanned
plane, that can be operated anywhere in the world, by a pilot located thousands
of miles away from the drone.3 In the case of the CIA program, from Langley,
Virginia a CIA pilot mans the Predator with a joystick, and based on information
received, searches for a specific target on the ground.4 Once the target is found
the CIA pilot fires a missile that is intended to kill the targeted terrorist. Thus,
from thousands of miles away, the CIA is engaging in targeted killing of high-
level terrorist suspects in a manner that resembles a video game.
The Predator Program has been alleged to be the most successful tool in
fighting al Qaeda. The program is credited with killing many top al Qaeda leaders.
However, while the program has successfully targeted members of al Qaeda, it
has also killed many innocent civilians. It has been estimated that in 2009, the
Predator program killed between three hundred and twenty-six and five hundred
and thirty-eight people, many of whom were not the intended target, but rather
civilian collateral damage. The Program has continued to expand regardless of
reported civilian casualties.5 In 2010 alone, it is alleged that the Obama
1  AUMF stands for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force. The 9/11 AUMF was passed by
both branches of Congress on September 18, 2001. Pub. L. No. §10/ 40, 115 Stat 224 (2001).
2  Many reports claim that there are a number of drones operating in Pakistan at all times. See
Jane Mayer, The Predator War, THE NEW YORKER, October 26, 209, at 36.
3  Id.
4 Id. at 38.
5  After a CIA base was attacked in Afghanistan on December 30, killing seven Americans, the
CIA increased the number of strikes in Pakistan. It is alleged that starting the day after the
attack, the CIA carried out 11 attacks that killed approximately 90 suspected militants. See
Scott Shane and Eric Schmitt, C.L.A. Deaths Prompt Surge in U.S. Drone Strikes, N.Y. TIMES,
Jan. 22, 2010, available at htt~ Iww  ytimescom/20 10/0O1/23/world/asia/23drone. htmnl.

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