clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Rand Paul filibusters Brennan CIA nomination over US drone policy

New, 174 comments

As the Senate prepares to confirm John Brennan as CIA director, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is filibustering the vote over the Obama Administration's policy on drone strikes. Paul has said that he will speak "until the President responds" to his questions over whether he will order targeted killing of Americans within US borders. "Mr. President, come clean, come forward, and say you will not kill Americans on American soil," Paul said on the Senate floor, comparing the policy of allowing strikes without trial to British abuses of power before the Revolutionary War. "I'm not saying the president is a bad person at all, but he's not a judge. he's a politician... We're allowing him to be the judge, and we're allowing him to be the jury."

"Your notification is the buzz on the propellers on the drone in the seconds before it flies overhead and you're killed."

Paul's filibuster — which he says is based on principle, not opposition to Brennan himself — comes after he received a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder about the drone program. Holder said that while no strikes had been conducted, and none were planned, he couldn't rule out "extraordinary circumstances" that would make domestic drone strikes necessary. Last month, the Obama administration gave Congress access to classified documents about the program after a leaked memo detailed circumstances under which American targets might be killed outside the US. "Your notification is the buzz on the propellers on the drone in the seconds before it flies overhead and you're killed," Paul says.

The vote on Brennan will eventually go on despite this protest, but Paul's statements echo popular concerns about the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. A bill in the House of Representatives would ban armed police drones and limit surveillance drones inside the US, though Paul's concern is not over law enforcement but programs from the Department of Defense or CIA.

Update: Nearly 13 hours later, the filibuster is over. According to Salon, Paul ended by saying, "“I’ve discovered there are some limits to filibustering, and I’m going to have to take care of one of them in a few minutes.”