This statement was made on Monday, in a letter to Paul Rand:
"Holder said it was possible, "I suppose," to imagine an "extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate" under U.S. law for the president to authorize the military to "use lethal force" within the United States."
Then on Wednesday one of the Senators asked for a clarification:
" In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pressed Holder whether he believed it would be constitutional to target an American terror suspect "sitting at a cafe" if the suspect didn't pose an imminent threat."
To that, Holder responded "no".
I don't think the "sitting at a cafe" and "didn't pose an imminent threat" specifications were part of the original questioning that prompted Holder's quote from Monday.
Now, if the "not engaged in combat" was part of the question from the start, the only reason I can think of for a delay would be if they needed to have some discussion on what exactly "in combat" would mean in the context of a terrorist in the U.S.
I don't know all of the history here, but I do know the filibuster had already started by the time Sen. Cruz was asking his questions yesterday.
I cannot imagine any circumstance in which law enforcement or the military could engage with deadly force on US soil in a situation that did not involve immediate and imminent threat. The problem, of course, is that we seem to have expanded the definition of the word "imminent" to include "may at some time in the future become" a threat when dealing with killings over seas. And that does not even start to talk about the "signature" attacks, which are justified by location alone without knowing exactly who it is that is being blown up. I don't know about you, but I sure as heck don't want that to be the policy here.
Frankly, I am glad someone is making it an issue, as it should be. BTW, I don't think the president or anyone in government was planning on blowing anyone up, not at all. I am not too worried about drones, I am more concerned with making sure everyone understands the possible impacts of going fast and loose with our natural rights.