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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]

Average: 5 (2 votes)


wanderindiana's picture
Submitted by wanderindiana on

I did not like Brennan when GWB tapped him; I did not like when Obama retained him, and disagree with giving him even greater authority.

I disagree with Obama's drone/assassination policies.

I don't usually identify with a tea party politician but I hope Rand Paul speaks for weeks.

rexvisigothis's picture
Submitted by rexvisigothis on

I hope Rand Paul speaks for weeks.
Weeks is a long time....I once knew a guy who stayed up for 6 weeks, but he was smoking crystal, and after week two, he would fall asleep if he so much as leaned against a wall. Nonetheless, I am doing my part (see below).

gizzardboy's picture
Submitted by gizzardboy on

After coming to Corrente last night and linking to C-Span, I watch the last hour or so of the debate. It wasn't so late here in Oregon. Thanks LL for the reminder. It is a breath of fresh air to have a debate with real back and forth, instead of the usual speeches to an empty room and everything decided in backroom deals.

I found it amazing that the Attorney General was soooo reluctant to say that a drone killing of a US citizen on US soil when there is no imminant threat (Not the White House non-imminant imminant) was unconstitutional. (This was retelling of what went on in commitee.) Obama would not put put such a statement in writing, or Paul would have ended the filibuster.

Paul and Cruz are putting up a bill to simply say that such an act would be unconstitutional. I think all Senators ought to co-sponsor such a bill. It doesn't matter to me that it originates with a couple of right wingers and I am out there near the tip of the left wing. The supposed power of the police state needs to be beaten back and forced to follow the constitution. I will be contacting both my state's senators to urge them to get on board. I think all readers (US citizens) ought to contact thier senators, too. It would be nice if CREDO or one of the other organizations that fill my in-box with petitions would push this as well.

Submitted by Hugh on

A half dozen Senators speaking for 4 hours at a time and only yielding to each other could stop the Senate cold indefinitely. And that is only one of several parliamentary maneuvers they could use.

By contrast, an individual filibuster is political theater. It only delays, usually by a matter of hours, the fait accompli. As someone noted at NC, all of the so-called liberal Senators, like Wyden, Franken, Sanders, and Warren support Brennan. I am reminded of the hearings on financial reform where the only meaningful questions were asked by whacked-out conservatives. The Democrats were completely useless and unprincipled during them too.