Friday February 08, 2013 | 08:53 AM

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

WASHINGTON – Maine Sen. Angus King went on MSNBC Friday morning to discuss his concerns about the lack of oversight of White House decisions to use unmanned drones to kill U.S. citizens working with terrorists.

King called the use of drones "more humane" than past weapon systems because they can reduce the loss of innocent lives by precisely targeting a specific person or site. But the Maine independent said when it comes to targeting U.S. citizens suspected of aligning themselves with terrorist organizations operating overseas, King said he believes there need to be checks and balances in place.

Speaking on MSNBC's Morning Joe program, King reiterated his call for a court-like body to review potential strikes that have been planned out days or weeks in advance. King said, however, that nothing should interfere with the president's ability to conduct targeted strikes to respond to immediate threats.

"By and large, as I understand it, these strikes don’t happen in a matter of minutes. They are planned over a matter of days and weeks," King said. "In the case of targeting an American, I don’t see why they can’t go to a secret court, like the intelligence court that is already been set up, and get what amounts to a warrant."

King has suggested modeling the system on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which reviews federal agencies’ requests for warrants on suspects operating in the U.S.

King first raised his constitutional concerns during Thursday's Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing for John Brennan, who President Obama has picked to be the next CIA director. Brennan, who currently serves as the White House’s counterterrorism chief, repeatedly fielded questions from senators on Thursday about drone policy.

On Friday, King also said that drones are "a lot more civilized" than the more indiscriminate weapons of war from the past. He gave the examples of the Allied forces firebombing of Dresden, Germany, in World War II, which resulted in massive civilian casualties.

"I think there is just something creepy about drones . . . and people are uneasy about them," King said. "But if you put it in the context of 1,000 years of war, I think it’s actually a more humane weapon because it can be targeted to specific enemies and specific people."


About this Blog

Subscribe to the
Maine on the Hill RSS

About the Author

Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or

Subscribe to the
Maine on the Hill RSS

Previous entries

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013


September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)
Prefer to respond privately? Email us here.