President Obama mentioned Vice President Dick Cheney to deflect some of the growing criticism from both parties over the administration's controversial drone program.
At a closed door meeting with senate Democrats on Tuesday, two senators tell Politico that the President tried to assure them that his administration has been more open to oversight than the Bush administration. "This is not Dick Cheney we're talking about here," the president said, according to the senators—who asked Politico not to name them.
The White House had no comment on the reference. Next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold the first of two hearings on drones: One to address privacy concerns and the other to discuss the targeted killing program.
Congressman Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is urging the President to release memos and documents justifying the use of drones.
"Put a legal architecture around this drone program that guarantees transparency, due process and that we do not allow this to be some sort of a program where we have a kill list and that there's no judicial oversight." Ellison said of Congress' demands to the president over the program on Jansing & Co Thursday.
Ellison said that this is an opportunity for the U.S. to lead the world when it comes to adopting rules for the use of drones. "The technology has outrun the rules," he said.
The upcoming hearings on drones come after Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., delayed the confirmation of CIA Director John Brennan during a 13-hour filibuster last week. Paul relented after getting assurances from Attorney General Eric Holder that drones would not be used to target Americans on U.S. soil.
And despite Paul getting criticism from fellow Republicans like John McCain, R-Ariz.,and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Ellison is giving him credit. "I probably would disagree with Rand Paul on 99% of all things. But I am very glad that he used the power of the filibuster to go to the house floor and dramatize this issue around drones."