Rand Paul To Filibuster John Brennan Over Drones

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) issued a final letter to former Obama assassination czar and current nominee for director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan in which he questions the legality of using drone strikes inside the United States. Paul has inquired on two other occasions. You can read those here and here.

Paul’s letter to Brennan recounts the previous attempts to get him to answer questions that have been posed to him. So far, Paul has not received a response. All of his requests have been ignored.

“Your past actions in this regard, as well as your view of the limitations to which you are subject, are of critical importance in assessing your qualifications to lead the CIA,” Paul writes. “If it is not clear that you will honor the limits placed upon the Executive Branch by the Constitution, then the Senate should not confirm you to lead the CIA.”

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He also called Brennan’s response to Senator and gun grabber Diane Feinstein’s (D-CA) question about whether or not he carry out drone strikes inside the United States, as insufficient. Brennan had stated that the Obama Administration “has not carried out” such strikes and “has no intention of doing so.”

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I find that highly insufficient as well, since it was Barack Obama, along with many members of Congress that want to see 30,000 drones in American airspace by 2020.

To clarify things Paul wrote, “The question that I and many others have asked is not whether the Administration has or intends to carry out drone strikes inside the United States, but whether it believes it has the authority to do so. This is an important distinction that should not be ignored.

The Kentucky Senator pointed out that last week Obama avoided this question when it was put directly to him. “Instead of addressing the question of whether the Administration could kill a U.S. citizen on American soil,” Paul wrote. “He used a similar line that ‘there has never been a drone used on an American citizen on American soil.'”

Paul stated emphatically that the only acceptable answer to the question is “No.”

He then warned, “Until you directly and clearly answer, I plan to use every procedural option at my disposal to delay your confirmation and bring added scrutiny to this issue and the Administration’s policies on the use of lethal force. The American people are rightfully concerned, and they deserve a frank and open discussion on these policies.”

This is not Paul’s only warning though. On February 13, the Senator said he would hold the nomination of Brennan until he receives sufficient answers to the questions he has forward to him.

“I have asked Mr. Brennan if he believed that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and my question remains unanswered. I will not allow a vote on this nomination until Mr. Brennan openly responds to the questions and concerns my colleagues and I share.” Sen. Paul said.

“These issues must be discussed openly so that the American people can understand what constraints exist on the government’s power to use lethal force against its citizens. Before confirming Mr. Brennan as the head of the CIA, it must be apparent that he understands and will honor the protections provided to every American by the Constitution,” he continued.

This is an important issue. Since the 2012 NDAA with its “indefinite detention” has been put in place, the Obama administration has failed to answer whether or not they are actively engaged in using those provisions on Americans when questioned by a U.S. District Court Judge. The administration has thumbed its nose at Congress when it comes to getting authorization for wars and has come out on national television to state that it can determine all on its own who they can assassinate without evidence or proof of such.

Paul is not the only Senator making this threat. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has also said that he will block Brennan’s confirmation, unless the White House releases drone surveillance footage of the Benghazi attack that took place on September 11, 2012 and the “emails on talking points that falsely claimed the attack was a protest that got out of control.”

I’m betting both men won’t be getting that sufficient answer, the footage, or the emails and though I trust Paul will vote him down, I’m not so sure about many on his side of the aisle voting with him. We’ll see what happens.

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