by Deborah Caldwell
Kira Davis – a self-described blogger, actress, and former Canadian, questioned President Obama over whether his administration could be thought of as truly transparent, given the secrecy over drones and the handling of the Benghazi incident.
“You ran on a platform of really trying to become one of the most transparent administrations in American history. However, with recent leaked guidelines regarding drone strikes on American citizens and Benghazi and closed door hearings on the budget and deficit, it just feels a lot less transparent than I think we all hoped it would be,” Davis asked, continuing: “How has the reality of the presidency changed that promise? And what can we do moving forward to kind of get back to that promise?”
President Obama answered, saying that his administration was the “most transparent” in history, and going on to point out that Benghazi was not a good example since it was “driven by campaign stuff.”
Lee Doren followed up on the drone issue, asking Obama what he would “do to create a legal framework to make American citizens within the United States know that drone strikes cannot be used against American citizens?”
Obama responded by saying that there are already “safeguards”, but acknowledged that citizens must do more to ensure that the government does the right thing where drones are concerned:
I am the head of the executive branch. And what we’ve done so far is to try to work with Congress on oversight issues. [...] And that is something that I take very seriously. I am not someone who believes that the president has the authority to do whatever he wants, or whatever she wants, whenever they want, just under the guise of counterterrorism. There have to be legal checks and balances on it.
Watch the entire Google Hangout here.