May 23, 2013

Wyden Statement on the President’s Speech at the National Defense University

Washington, D.C.U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s counterterrorism speech at the National Defense University:

“The President said today that ‘we must define the nature and scope’ of the conflict with al-Qa’ida, ‘or else it will define us.’ I couldn’t agree more. In my twelve years on the Senate Intelligence Committee I have seen the consequences of letting this struggle define the United States. The President’s speech today was a good step toward correcting the mistakes of the past and moving us closer to the goal of upholding both American security and our treasured American values and ideals. 

I have argued for years that the US government should be more open with the public about the rules for using lethal force outside of war zones and against US citizens in particular. The President has now explained these rules in more detail than the public has heard before. It is my hope that this is only a first step. There are more specifics on the use of lethal force that need to be shared with both Congress and the public and I will continue to engage with my colleagues and the Administration to ensure that these details are shared as well. 

In addition to announcing important steps forward on the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, the President also showed clear concern that overly broad leak investigations could chill the active investigative journalism that is so vital to our democracy. I look forward to seeing the progress that the President promised on this issue, and to hearing how the Justice Department will ensure that unreasonable investigative tactics are not directed at journalists who are simply doing their jobs.”