Rand Paul Doing An Old Fashioned Filibuster On John Brennan Right Now

by
Owen Poindexter
Rand Paul said he will "speak until he can no longer speak" to oppose Obama's nomination of John Brennan to direct the CIA and the Obama Administration's claim that it can kill an American on U.S. soil without a trial in extraordinary circumstances.


Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is conducting an old fashioned filibuster on John Brennan, Obama's nominee for CIA Director. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

Senator Rand Paul said he will "speak until he can no longer speak" to oppose Obama's nomination of John Brennan to direct the CIA and the Obama Administration's claim that it can kill an American on U.S. soil without a trial in extraordinary circumstances. At the time of writing, he is still going. Paul is doing an old-fashioned filibuster, in which a senator does not allow business to go forward in Congress by literally not ceding the floor for as long as he physically can. While John Brennan may ulitmately be confirmed to head the CIA, Paul is going to make himself heard first.

"I cannot sit quietly and let [Obama] shred the Constitution." 

The speech, which began around 11:50 a.m., has focused on violations of civil liberties under the Obama administration, and particularly Attorney General Eric Holder's claim that the President could "hypothetically" use military force against U.S. citizens on American soil. 

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“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," Paul said. "The president’s response? He hasn’t killed anyone yet. We’re supposed to be comforted by that." 

Rand Paul does bring up a fascinating, and unresolved issue in American policy: how much leeway do we give the government to kill someone in the name of national defense. We can all imagine a  scenario where a known terrorist is about to execute a known plot and Jack Bauer et. al. burst in and save the day. That's the easy one. What if we simply suspect each part of that with 90% certainty? What if the government has credible reasons to worry that issuing a warrant would make the terrorist know that he or she is out of time and has to execute the terrorist act immediately? And how much do we trust the government?
 
I don't have the answers to these questions, and I don't know that Rand Paul does either, but the utter lack of transparency on its targeted killing program by the Obama Administration has been one of the biggest minuses of his presidency, and, I don't often say this, but kudos to Rand Paul for bringing attention to this.
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