Senator Rand Paul’s Filibuster


Rand Paul On vague wording of drone strike criteria: “Are you going to just drop a hellfire missile on Jane Fonda? Are you going to drop a missile on Kent State?” He later added, “That’s gobbledygook.”     

Rand Paul On Obama: “He was elected by a majority, but the majority doesn’t get to decide who we execute.”  

I should be in bed right now as a cold hit me today and I feel rotten.  But I’m sitting here watching Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster of the confirmation process of John Brennan for CIA Director.  I’ve been watching this online for over an hour now and Senator Ted Cruz is presently speaking – doing his part to assist in this filibuster.  What a great speaker Mr.
Cruz is.  I’ve been composing this e-mail for 30 or 40 minutes – it’s now 11:31 and Senator Marco Rubio just spoke on the Senate floor.

At issue is whether the President can order a drone strike on a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil without a trial.  In order to wiretap a U.S. citizen living abroad, the government must first get a court order to do so.  The President and John Brennan apparently think the Executive Branch has the power to kill a U.S. citizen living here – without any such court order or jury verdict.

I believe what we’re witnessing is the bottom of the slippery slope we embarked upon in the past, where recent former Presidents have taken our country to war or involved us in acts of war, without regard to the War Powers Act which states that in all cases, except certain extenuating circumstances, Congress alone has the power to take our country
into war.  Here’s a brief summary from the Library of Congress’ overview of war powers:

Over time, questions arose as to the extent of the President’s authority to deploy U.S. armed forces into hostile situations abroad without a declaration of war or some other form of Congressional approval. Congress passed the War Powers Resolution in the aftermath of the Vietnam War to address these concerns and provide a set of procedures for both the President and Congress to follow in situations where the introduction of U.S. forces abroad could lead to their involvement in armed conflict.

Conceptually, the War Powers Resolution can be broken down into several distinct parts. The first part states the policy behind the law, namely to “insure that the collective judgment of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities,” and that the President’s powers as Commander in Chief are exercised only pursuant to a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization from Congress, or a national emergency created by an attack upon the United States (50 USC Sec. 1541).

I haven’t watched C-SPAN in quite some time, and it’s neat to be able to watch it on the computer.  I’m proud to be an American once again, having watched these great men take a stand for liberty.

I’m also reminded of how critically important it is for us to heed the Apostle Paul when he instructs us to pray for those in authority:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.    1 Timothy 2:1-4

It’s very easy to become cynical and angry about our government, to say things like, “They’re all crooks, they’re all out for themselves.”  First, how are they by nature any different than any of us?  Secondly, how is God going to be moved to act on behalf of His people if we sit on our hands, complain, and fail to ask for His support in times of trouble?  We have not because we ask not.

At the end of this e-mail is the letter which Senator Paul sent to John Brennan on February 20, 2013.

As the Senate prepares to confirm John Brennan as CIA director, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is filibustering the vote over the Obama Administration’s policy on drone strikes. Paul has said that he will speak “until the President responds” to his questions over whether he will order targeted killing of Americans within US borders. “Mr. President, come clean, come forward, and say you will not kill Americans on American soil,” Paul said on the Senate floor, comparing the policy of allowing strikes without trial to British abuses of power before the Revolutionary War.

A Time for Choosing

You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down — up to man’s age-old dream — the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order–or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism, and regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.”    Ronald Reagan, October 27, 1964

February 20, 2013

John O. Brennan

Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. Brennan,

In consideration of your nomination to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), I have repeatedly requested that you provide answers to several questions clarifying your role in the approval of lethal force against terrorism suspects, particularly those who are U.S. citizens. Your past actions in this regard, as well as your view of the limitations to which you are subject, are of critical importance in assessing your qualifications to lead the CIA. If it is not clear that you will honor the limits placed upon the Executive Branch by the Constitution, then the Senate should not confirm you to lead the CIA.

During your confirmation process in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), committee members have quite appropriately made requests similar to questions I raised in my previous letter to you-that you expound on your views on the limits of executive power in using lethal force against U.S. citizens, especially when operating on U.S. soil. In fact, the Chairman of the SSCI, Sen. Feinstein, specifically asked you in post-hearing questions for the record whether the Administration could carry out drone strikes inside the United States. In your response, you emphasized that the Administration “has not carried out” such strikes and “has no intention of doing so.” I do not find this response sufficient.

The question that I and many others have asked is not whether the Administration has or intends to carry out drone strikes inside the United States, but whether it believes it has the authority to do so. This is an important distinction that should not be ignored.

 Just last week, President Obama also avoided this question when posed to him directly. Instead of addressing the question of whether the Administration could kill a U.S. citizen on American soil, he used a similar line that “there has never been a drone used on an American citizen on American soil.” The evasive replies to this valid question from the Administration have only confused the issue further without getting us any closer to an actual answer.

For that reason, I once again request you answer the following question: Do you believe that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial?

I believe the only acceptable answer to this is no.

Until you directly and clearly answer, I plan to use every procedural option at my disposal to delay your confirmation and bring added scrutiny to this issue and the Administration’s policies on the use of lethal force. The American people are rightfully concerned, and they deserve a frank and open discussion on these policies.

Rand Paul, M.D.

United States Senator

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