The attorney general told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the president has the authority to use drones to kill American citizens on U.S. soil in the event of an “extraordinary circumstance.”
“The president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland,” Holder said.
Mr Holder stressed in his letter that the prospect of a president considering the assassination of an American citizen on US soil was “entirely hypothetical” and “unlikely to occur”.
Yet “it is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the president to authorise the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,” he wrote.
Appearing in front the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, Mr Holder reiterated that “the government has no intention to carry out any drone strikes in the United States”.