Jane Fonda Can Relax; U.S. Probably Won’t Target Her with Hellfire Missile

Friday, March 08, 2013
Jane Fonda


Jane Fonda can come out of hiding.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) says the U.S. cannot target the actress and author with a Hellfire missile while she is in the country, despite what fellow Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) implied during his 13-hour filibuster Wednesday in Washington, DC.

The United States military uses pilotless drones extensively around the world to kill people. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that drones have killed 681 civilians in Pakistan, 125 in Yemen and 34 in Somalia since 2002. Those numbers don’t include killings in West and East Africa.

Paul filibustered President Barack Obama’s nomination of John Brennan for director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), ostensibly over civil liberty issues, after Attorney General Eric Holder sent him a letter which said the U.S. could legally kill a U.S. citizen on American soil under extraordinary conditions. Holder cited the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 and the 9/11 assault.  

Paul said that raised constitutional issues about abuse of executive authority and cited Fonda’s activism during the Vietnam War. “No one will ever forget Jane Fonda swiveling around in North Vietnamese armored guns, and it was despicable. And it's one thing if you're going to try her for treason, but are you just going to drop a drone hellfire missile on Jane Fonda?” Paul asked.

The answer is probably no.

On the floor of the Senate Thursday, Feinstein reiterated Holder’s examples of special circumstances that might justify a drone attack on U.S. soil, but went one step further. “Drone attacks will never be used in the United States of America, not if I have anything to do with it,” she said. “This will never happen in the United States of America, this is not permitted in the United States of America.”

Holder wasn’t quite as adamant. In a letter to Paul after being grilled by a Senate committee earlier in the week over the administration’s use of drones to kill people overseas, Holder, in a rather droll fashion, wrote, “It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”

Paul dropped his filibuster, Brennan was confirmed 63-34 and it seems, for now, that Fonda may be safe as long as she doesn’t walk around Beverly Hills sporting an AK-47.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

John Brennan Confirmed as CIA Director Following White House Drone Statement (by Peter Finn and Aaron Blake, Washington Post)

Dianne Feinstein Says U.S. Cannot Drop Hellfire Missile on Jane Fonda (by Carolyn Lochhead, San Francisco Chronicle)

McCain, Graham Snipe at Paul for Filibuster (by Kevin Liptak, CNN)

Killing Americans on U.S. Soil: Eric Holder's Evasive, Manipulative Letter (by Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic)

Sen. Feinstein’s Claim of Single-Digit Drone-Related Civilian Deaths Clashes with Reality (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Leave a comment