The fact that Holder "supposes" anything about the constitutionality of using military force against U.S. citizens suggests that he hasn't given the question much thought — an alarming admission for the government's chief lawyer.
“To allow one man to accuse you in secret -- you never get notified you've been accused,” Paul said on the floor. “Your notification is the buzz of propellers on the drone as it flies overhead in the seconds before you're killed. Is that what we really want from our government?”
The outrage! The Audacity! The Obama Socialist Regime Run Amok!
and people are buying it. On both sides of the Aisle.
Because, you know, people are stupid. First off, adding in 'Drone Strikes' to the issue is strictly something to inflame the public. First by politicians on the right, who are adept at using such hot button rhetoric to inflame the masses, and second by politicians on the left, who are too stupid to know better.
All in regards to this statement -
The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront. 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 authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States. For example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances like a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001.
In short, William Holder acknowledged that it could happen.
Except, it's been a standing policy for ages. The fact that he says the President could make the decision actually adds in a level that doesn't exist in many scenarios in the US today, scenarios that have existed for decades. It is fact that if you fly over Groom Lake Nevada, and do not acknowledge communication attempts, or divert your course, that you can be shot down. In fact, there are signs all over the facility that 'lethal force can and will be used' against trespassers. And those actions don't even necessitate a presidential order.
That is just one example of how this policy is a long standing one in the US. Yet, now, it's an 'Obama issue', because Drones were used in the wording. But how is a drone any different than dispatching F-16s to potentially shoot down a co-opted airliner that could fly into a building, or a soldier with a M16 looking to shoot a trespasser on a top secret facility on American soil?
It isn't. There is still a human finger on the trigger, and another human ordering that trigger to be pulled.
However, Holder said the question was "entirely hypothetical" and "unlikely to occur." So here Rand Paul is, along with a lot of uneducated politicians, using this issues to inflame the public on something, and using the press to do so, simply for political grandstanding.
Ignoring the fact that this is all to keep a guy out of the CIA, even though the CIA mandate keeps them from actually being involved in a decision like this over American soil.