Senator Paul filibusters vote to press administration on drone policy

By Donny Kendal

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky filibustered a vote on the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee for CIA Director for over 12 hours Wednesday, demanding answers regarding the U.S. drone policy.

Paul was concerned about earlier statements made by President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and nominee John Brennan regarding the use of armed drones in American skies. The website Mother Jones posted excerpts from a letter sent by Holder to Paul that said the President could authorize lethal force in a case of “extraordinary circumstance.”

“Do they believe they have the constitutional authority to authorize lethal force on non-combatant U.S. citizens on U.S. soil?” Paul asked repeatedly on the Senate floor. During the filibuster, covered by CSPAN, Paul said he attempted to ask Brennan, Holder and the administration this question multiple times but received no satisfactory answers.

In support of Paul, Senator Pat Toomey said the answers given were “clearly an evasion of the question.” Paul said, “they answered a question, just not the question we asked.”

The filibuster, which started midday, went late into the night with no response from the administration. Republican Senators John Thune, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio all spent time talking during the filibuster.

On Thursday, Holder sent a letter stating that the answer to the question is “no.” According to a Fox News article, Paul was pleased by the answer and considered the filibuster a “victory.” Other Republicans were not as happy about the standoff.

Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham criticized Paul’s actions. As reported by Business Insider, McCain called the filibuster “ridiculous” while Graham said he was “disappointed” with Paul and the supporting Senators.

The confirmation of Brennan took place Thursday afternoon. There also appears to a rift growing between Republicans over the filibuster as Paul defended his actions against McCain and Graham’s criticisms.