DEVELOPING STORY: Rand Paul Filibusters Against Drone Use on U.S. Soil
Ashley Parker of the NYT writes:
Mr. Paul, who opposes the nomination of John O. Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, had previously said he would filibuster President Obama’s nominee after receiving a letter this month from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. that refused to rule out the use of drone strikes within the United States in “extraordinary circumstances” like the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Republican Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky is AT THE MOMENT delivering the promised filibuster the Jimmy Stewart/Mr. Smith Goes to Washington way. A TALKING FILIBUSTER!
He started it at 11:45 am this morning and is still going strong at 8:30 pm ET.
I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the C.I.A. I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.
Where is the Barack Obama of 2007? [the Obama who criticized Bush violations of civil liberties] If there were an ounce of courage in this body, I would be joined by many other senators.
Are we going to give up our rights to politicians?
When I asked the president, 'Can you kill an American on American soil,' it should have been an easy answer. It’s an easy question. It should have been a resounding an unequivocal, ‘No.’ The president’s response? He hasn’t killed anyone yet. We’re supposed to be comforted by that. The president says, ‘I haven’t killed anyone yet.’ He goes on to say, ‘And I have no intention of killing Americans. But I might.’ Is that enough? Are we satisfied by that?
I will not sit quietly and let him shred the constitution.
Were we a body that cared about our prerogative to declare war, we would take that power back. But I'll tell you how poor -- and this is on both sides of the aisle -- how poor is our understanding or belief in retaining that power here.
Paul did not yield the floor, though Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) was hungry to invoke cloture (60-vote threshold) on the Brennan CIA nomination so the vote can happen in the U.S. Senate tonight. According to Tony Starks, Rand Paul said if the Obama administration would acknowledge it does not have the authority to order drone strikes in the U.S. he would stop. Reid "brushed off that request."
Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Mike Lee, R-Utah and Ron Wyden, D-Oregon joined Paul at times to give him relief.
Wyden, who sadly intends to vote to confirm the troubling Brennan:
I think Senator Paul and I agree that this nomination also provides a very important opportunity for the United States Senate to consider the government’s rules and policies on the targeted killings of Americans and that, of course, has been a central pillar of our nation’s counterterror strategy.
[cross-posted at open salon]