The Daily Rundown | February 06, 2013
>>> the obama administration's decision to give congress previously classified counter terrorism documents followed days of pressure from lawmakers demanding more transparency. john brennan himself called for clarity in a speech in 2009 .
>> i have been deeply troubled by the inflammatory rhetoric and hyperbole that is often characterizing the debate over the security policies . particularly those relating to the fight against terrorists. as we move ahead, the president feels strongly we maintain a robust dialogue with the american people , indeed with the world about the full range of efforts to prevent terrorist attacks .
>> the new mexico senator tom udahl is one of seven senators that signed a letter that led to the classified legal opinions release. he joins me now. senator, good morning to you.
>> good morning. good to be with you this morning.
>> apologies. we are late. the president was late in his speech at the prayer breakfast. let me start with the administration's decision. is this a no?
>> i think this is encouraging to release the documents to the committees. i want to be sure that i am going to be able to see them and any senator is going to be able to see them.
>>> you? you are not on the intelligence committee . are they going to release these to any member who wants to see them?
>> at this point i think they are trying to restrict it and i think all of them are pushing back and we will get to see them.
>> the surprising thing to me on this entire issue has been how few members of congress have wanted a role in this oversight or at least publicly expressed this, is it a minority view or are there members who do want to have more oversight over the drone program in general let alone this decision about legal opinions of when to go after an american citizen . are there more member who is want this and not speaking up?
>> i than we circulated this letter in the senate. three republicans are on it. if you have an interest in this issue, you sign a letter. at least 11 of us stepped forward.
>> 89 had a shot at the letter and decided not to.
>> we recognize the intelligence committees also play their roll and many times they don't sign the letters. we are talking here, but most intelligence members, i think there were only three on this particular letter. i would like to just talk about what's at stake here. this is about fundamental values . you are talking about a president, any president having the ability to exercise his national security power to protect the country. in this case an extraordinary power to kill an american citizen and the other value is due process . we care a lot about due process . we care a lot about our liberty and the constitution and chuck, we know if we take away an american life in this process, you can't bring it back. this is a fundamental debate that needs to cure. it's oversight. i applaud you for weighing in on this and trying to get a discussion. i think the president and i think the american people know this is a discussion we need to have.
>> let's talk about the framework here. you know the biggest defense of the president has come from lindsay graham . you can't have 535 referring to members of congress , 535 commanders in chief and you can't have judges deciding who gets kill and when a drone strike happens. i have been surprised that there is not even after action oversight meaning i understand that there is this -- you have to let the president protect and make these decisions, but should well be a provision that makes the president and administration depend every single one of the drone strikes after it happens?
>> i think that would make a lot of sense. i'm not on the intelligence committee . i don't know how much that happens. when the american citizen was killed who was a new mexico can and born in new mexico , i demanded the legal opinions at that time and i pursued that. it's important there be the oversight that congress play a role. we are not trying to call the shots and try to be commanders in chief. what we are trying to do is find out what the legal framework is and what the limits are. to make sure that under any president this is done with the utmost care.
>> i have to leave it there. democratic senator from new mexico . as you said yourself,