By Greg Miller, Updated: Friday, February 8, 8:51 PM
A proposal to give federal judges a direct role in the nation’s drone campaign gained new momentum this week with a signal from senior lawmakers that they intend to consider creating a special court to oversee the selection of targets for lethal strikes.
But the idea, cited by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), among others, as a way to impose new accountability on the drone program, faces significant legal and logistical hurdles, according to U.S. officials and legal experts.
Among the main obstacles is almost certain opposition from the executive branch to a dilution of the president’s authority to protect the country against looming threats. Others include the difficulty of putting judges in a position to approve the killing of individuals — possibly including American citizens — even if they have not been convicted of a crime.
In more practical terms, U.S. officials expressed concern that a judicial review would lead to delays that might erode the country’s ability to preempt terrorist attacks.