Yes, the president can kill Americans on U.S. soil
Just so we're all clear -- and mainly just so Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will stand down on his threat to block John Brennan's confirmation -- Attorney General Eric Holder has confirmed in writing that the president can kill U.S. citizens in a drone strike on U.S. soil, in "an extraordinary circumstance."
In a Google+ Hangout last month, President Obama refused to answer whether or not he had the authority to use lethal force on Americans inside the borders. And John Brennan has said that the CIA does not "have any authority" to carry out lethal strikes on U.S. soil. But Paul had threatened to block Brennan's nomination "until he answers the question of whether or not the President can kill American citizens through the drone strike program on U.S. soil."
Holder thus wrote to the senator with a more expansive answer Tuesday (h/t Mother Jones):