Credit where credit is due. In this case, it is due to the ordinarily hard-left-leaning MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski and Harold Ford, Jr., both of whom appeared on “Morning Joe.” The topic under discussion was the media’s overall reaction to the leak on Monday of a Justice Department memo outlining the circumstances under which the U.S. government can legally order the killing of American citizens.
According to the white paper, which is here, it is acceptable to target a drone strike at a U.S. citizen provided he is believed to be a “senior operational leader” of al-Qaeda or “an associated force,” even if there is no hard intelligence indicating active involvement in a plot to attack the U.S.
Newsbusters’ Mark Finkelstein notes that Brzezinski and Ford exhibited “unusual candor” in admitting that the MSM’s treatment of this revelation betrays a double journalistic standard. The video, which is below, is followed by a transcript of the exchange:
Joe Scarborough: This is so frightening.
Harold Ford, Jr.: Democrats need to now think back how they conducted themselves and the questions they raised about Bush administration tactics. I didn’t raise those questions as aggressively as some of my friends did, but I think it’s important that everybody take a step back and take a breather here, particularly Democrats.
Mika Brzezinski: Because this would be as questionable, more questionable –
Harold Ford, Jr.: If this was happening and his name was Bush, I think there’d be a lot of criticism coming at this President.
Joe Scarborough: If George Bush, Mika, had done this, it would have been stopped.
Mika Brzezinski: I think certainly it would have been a huge controversy that would have erupted. The question is how many questions will this administration face on this? [Emphases added throughout]
A related question that was never asked of Attorney General Eric Holder when news of the Obama administration’s “kill list” surfaced in 2010 was how that idea squared with his own filing of amicus briefs on behalf of American-born “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla when Holder was still in private practice. Maybe the question will be asked now.