Rand Paul conducted an epic filibuster yesterday with one of the longest filibusters this century. To what did America owe this spectacle?
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) had on Thursday asked the administration if the president has the authority to use a mechanized drone against an American on U.S. soil who is not engaged in hostile activities. "The answer to that question is no," Carney said, reading from a new a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder addressed to Paul.
Paul on Wednesday engaged in a 13-hour "talking" filibuster of the confirmation of the next CIA director over the issue of the president’s authority to use drone strikes against U.S. citizens. He has said once the White House gives sufficient answer, he would allow a vote on the nomination of John Brennan.
Before the filibuster Rand Paul told CNN
The very specific questions we are asking is. Does the President believe he has the authority to kill Americans who are not engaged in combat in America with targeted drone strikes?
The attorney general answered his letter with a simple response.
The Honorable Rand Paul
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Paul:
It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: "Does thePresident have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged incombat on American soil?" The answer to that question is no.
Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Paul then gave a scathing attack of the administration on Fox News before saying he was satisfied with the answer.
Hooray! For thirteen hours yesterday we asked them that question.So there is a result and a victory. Under duress and under public humiliation the White House will respond and do the right thing…. So now after 13 hours of filibuster, we are 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 is so hard. And why would a president so jealously guard power that they were afraid to say this. But I am glad and I think that answer does that question the answer does answer my question.
The administration should not have allowed Ron Paul to be the bearer of a principled filibuster. It has raised the stature of an incompetent politician. It is problematic that a politician with no liberal inclinations was actually praised by some liberals on the drone issue. The President should have given Ron Wyden (D-OR) this information that would have made this filibuster moot.