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55 U. Louisville L. Rev. Online 1 (2017)
The CIA's Secret Drone Program: The Next Wave of U.S. Warfare
Tim Bado*
Abstract

The Central Intelligence Agency's highly classified drone program is one of the most controversial recent issues on Capitol Hill. There is much debate on whether the CIA should possess the ability to carry out leth drone strokes. There are several key facts both critics and proponents use to support their respective arguments. Critics argue the legal authority behind the CIA's use of lethal drone strikes is too broad and the specific language the CIA relies on only vaguely gives them legal authority. Proponents of the CIA's drone program point to is successes in killing targets, primarily in four countries - Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan - dating as far back as 2002. If drone strikes continue at their current capacity, concrete legal authority needs to be established. The purpose of this Note is to analyze the areas of law that the Bush administration, Obama administration, and the CIA have used to justify using drone strikes to eliminate terrorists around the worl. Part II will examine: 1) the relevant domestic legal authority for drone strikes, including the United States Constitution, the War Powers Resolution, the Authorized Use of Military Force and specifically the CIA's authority, and 2) the role of the congressional oversight committees and the issues associated with the nature of such oversight. Part III will analyze each area of domestic law, discuss whether the legal authority is justifies, and whether the statues intended to include the use of drones. Part II will also briefly discuss domestic and foreign policy considerations, including whether public policy should be considered when interpreting the laws. Part IV argues that while drone strikes are technically authorized under domestic law, a major overhaul of the legal framework surrounding the issues of domestic legal authority while also including the appropriate oversight mechanisms so the programs can be overseen effectively and efficiently. 

* J.D. Candidate, May 2017, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, University of Louisville.