The Rand Paul filibuster has apparently forced the Obama administration to clarify its policy on deploying unmanned, weaponized drones on US soil.
During his nearly 13-hour filibuster of John Brennan’s CIA nomination that blew up (so to speak) the Twitterverse especially with the hashtag #StandWithRand, Sen. Paul (R – Ky.) emphasized that he was talking about the constitutional violation of targeting someone who was not involved in actual violence or combat.
Paul has pointed out that drones overseas are dropped on suspect terrorists in restaurants and cafes, while they are sleeping, and riding cars. Here at home, Paul insisted, the 5th Amendment in the Bill of Rights requires that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. As such, suspected domestic terrorists who not actively engaged in violence at the time should be arrested and have their day in court, Sen. Paul maintains.
Attorney General Eric Holder wrote a two-sentence letter to Sen. Paul this morning (which was released to the media before it arrived at Paul’s office) that appears to disavow the use of drones in America apart from an emergency situation.
Rand Paul was being interviewed by Megyn Kelly on FNC this afternoon when she read Holder’s letter to him live on the air. Holder’s terse letter stated as follows: “It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.’ ”
By including the language “it has come to my attention,” Holder apparently comes across the only person in America who was unaware of Rand Paul’s filibuster or his dogged pursuit of an answer to his question in the context of the Brennan nomination.
That aside, Rand Paul declared victory upon learning of Eric Holder’s letter that clarified the domestic drone strike policy.
After learning of the Holder drone letter, Sen. Paul told Megyn Kelly the following:
“Hooray. For 13 hours yesterday we asked him that question. And so there is a result and a victory. Under duress and under public humiliation, the White House will respond and do the right thing. It took a month and a half to get them to admit that the CIA doesn’t operate in the United States. That’s been the law since 1947.
“So now, after 13 hours of filibuster, we’re proud to announce that the president is not going to kill unarmed Americans on American soil.
“My next question would be: ‘Why did it take so long? Why is it so hard?’ And why would a president so jealously guard power that they’re afraid to say this? But I am glad. And I think the answer does answer my question.”
Watch Rand Paul declare victory after conducting his dramatic 13-hour filibuster: