White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Thursday seemed to answer Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s question regarding the White House and its stance on the use of drones on U.S. citizens.

Carney said Attorney General Eric Holder wrote Sen. Paul a letter to confirm that the president does not have the authority to drone U.S. citizens in non-combat situations on U.S. soil.

“Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on an American soil,” said Carney, citing Holder’s letter. “The answer is ‘No.’”

However, Carney added that “if the United States were under attack, there were an imminentthreat [emphasis added],” then the president would have the authority to order military action to repel said threat.

So, although Carney claims the White House’s answer to Sen. Paul’s question is a “No,” it sounds like we still haven’t escaped “imminent” versus “immediate” purgatory.

Here’s Holder’s letter:

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