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Rand Paul Targets Brennan’s CIA Nomination over Drones

Rand Paul Targets Brennan’s CIA Nomination over Drones

Tuesday night, Rand Paul (the freshman senator from Kentucky) gave the Tea Party response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, calling for cutting corporate taxes in half and slashing trillions in federal spending.

Paul has been very busy.  Today, the Washington Times reports that Paul has just put a hold on John Brennan’s nomination as CIA Director over the administration’s use of drones:

Sen. Rand Paul will hold up the confirmation of John Brennan until the would-be CIA director sheds light on the extent of the administration’s controversial policies on drone use.

Specifically, Mr. Paul insists he wants an answer he has not received — whether drones can be used to assassinate American citizens in the U.S.

“I have asked Mr. Brennan if he believed that the president has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil,” said Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican. “My question remains unanswered. I will not allow a vote on this nomination until Mr. Brennan openly responds to the questions and concerns my colleagues and I share.”

Mr. Brennan, formerly a national security adviser to President Obama, has become the face of the White House’s drone program. He faced intense questioning on the subject during Senate hearings last week, and, according to Mr. Paul, dodged the issue of whether the administration could use unmanned aerial vehicles or other means to target Americans believed to be working with terrorist groups while they’re on U.S. soil.

A Justice Department memo, recently leaked to NBC News, makes clear that the administration believes it’s on solid legal footing when targeting American citizens abroad, but it’s unclear whether the White House believes it can strike them in the homeland.

There is some speculation that Paul’s grilling of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the events in Benghazi shows an interest in a 2016 Presidential bid. And the Tea Party response may also be an indication he is seeking future grassroots support among independent conservatives.

However, the White House’s drone policies are causing concerns that cross political lines. I sense Paul’s leadership in this matter is going to be an example for other conservatives to follow, and will be appreciated by members of both parties — now and in the future.


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Shheeeeessshhh..! The ONLY thing I’d give Obam-Bam a thumbs-up on—Killing Islamist sewage by drone—the Paulites are against. Such is life in the 2013 Separate Universe.

Honestly, after 9/11, I was very willing to support the Patriot Act and terrorists being incarcerated in Gitmo and killed in Drone strikes. But then we had Bush/Cheney in charge and I was confident they would actually focus their efforts on the people who were actually a threat to the US.

The lesson I learned though is that you can’t just think about the powers you are granting to a specific administration to deal with a specific threat but what is going to happen in the future when people you don’t like or trust wield the same powers. It was a mistake to grant Bush/Cheney those powers because eventually someone like Obama will wield them and who knows how long it is before they start targeting “anti-government hate groups” with the same powers. And Brennan didnt even answer the question over if American citizens within the United States could be killed a drone. Excuse me? What’s the points of having courts then at all?

I’m glad Rand Paul is out there trying to fight for what is left of our freedom.

    Valid point, but afraid I’ll stick to NOT playing fair with the butchers. Waterboarding, sleep deprivation and pork served to Muslim prisoners—as well as the sensitive Rendition—are ALL GOOOOOD-by-Me,’Yo.

    Not that I ‘buy’ Brennan for a second. He’s a Boy King butt kisser…General Petraeus, I know that the sexy-knee dropping Paula would tempt a Pope, Sir, but…Dammit..Your heroic career gone via a trollop..?!?! )-:

What concerns me more than anything else are good folks like NeoConScum that seem to think that killing Americans by drone is OK. The fact that shredding the Constitution makes some feel safer is a true alternate “seperate universe”. I support the war on terror, but do not believe that supporting the war on terror requires violating the Constitution. Every single traitor to this country had a trial and was then executed for treason, including Major Andre! Yet, somehow, the actions/behaviors of Major Andre were somehow less threatening to this country than the need to kill an American 15 year old who happened to havea terrorist for a father. Even Al-Alwaki deserved a trial. If you couldn’t secure him via arrest, a trial in absentia is perfectly in line with the consitution. Then, if he was found guilty and sentenced to death – by all means use a drone. The trials for traitors is not for the traitor – it is to preserve the right of all of us to be free from being unfairly accused by our government and having our life stolen from us. God help us that in modern America, that small government conservatives don’t see this. That is more terrifying to me than any other current event because it means our freedoms are lost.

    NeoConScum in reply to lightning. | February 14, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Lightening…In a past “play fair” world, I’d have no problem with your points. But, that you and well meaning folks like you are apparently incapable of “getting” the current Enemy and his all-out asymmetrical war on us—ALL of us—leaves me breathless at times. I’ve spent most of my 68-years studying human EVIL. Good peeps are often, regrettably, clueless even when faced with overwhelming evidence of Evil’s True Nature and Reach.

      lightning in reply to NeoConScum. | February 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      This particular enemy has been with the world for thousands of years. You talk about evil and the need to eradicate it. How realistic is that? Do you really believe that even going full-bore with drones is going to “eradicate” this evil? We have been at this for a little over 10 years folks, and unlike the president, I do not think we are safer. If anything, we are more at risk and have helped radicalize people. We are now arming terrorists (those same evil guys that allow you to shred the constitution). Why is it so hard for you to see that although you and I might believe in the war on terror, our government stopped a long time ago and is now only paying it lip service. The drones are for foreign terrorists/Americans living abroad today. Tommorrow, they will be for the returning vet from Ohio who has been suckered into a “right-wing” militia. But we know that the government always tells the truth, so when they assure us that so-and-so was truly a threat we should all just believe them. Guys, this country is going to hell, and you are not even realizing how much you are contributing. Scary part is by the time you wake up it will be too late. I truly pity our children – we are leaving them a horrible legacy.

        NeoConScum in reply to lightning. | February 14, 2013 at 9:06 pm

        “Eradicate” Evil…? Uummmmm, focus, focus, focus: WHERE in the world did you read that—actually or inferred—in anything I wrote??

        Rags…These folks like the ‘nice’,’decent’ Mr.Lightening inhabit a world that doesn’t exist. As does Mr.Obama, though he’s hardly decent. Massive blood and booty will be paid for such wishful, fictional assumptions. Not Fair, ya know what I mean?? General Pershing had some approaches to Islamist Radicals that I wish were employed now. I’m thinking color photos for al Jazeera of al Qaeda corpses in burial pits with gutted pigs. But, then I’m not sensitive about the approach to EVIL.

      sablegsd in reply to NeoConScum. | February 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      Do you see any insane disconnect with drone killing some muslims and running arms and money to others? Between the future shall not blah blah blah and drone killing a 16 year old American boy?

      jdkchem in reply to NeoConScum. | February 14, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      The price of a free society. Some days evil gets a break and if you are willing to surrender even an ounce of freedom for that bread crumb of security you deserve the tyrants you get.

    Ragspierre in reply to lightning. | February 14, 2013 at 9:24 am

    “Every single traitor to this country had a trial and was then executed for treason…”

    Sorry, but that is simply a pleasant fantasy. We have met many traitors on the battlefield, where they were left without ceremony, for instance.

    Brush up on your history.

      lightning in reply to Ragspierre. | February 14, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      OK Rags, lets change “all” to “most”. Now that we have dispensed with semantic strawmen, how about responding to the overall point? We should violate the constitution to drone American citizens both at home and abroad, based on government authority/assurances that they were a “threat” to the nation. Mind you that according to the NBC link, they don’t even need to be an “immediate” threat anymore. Now it is not clear if that leak is accurate, but I find it mindboggling that you trust the government so much that you would take their word for it that anyone was a terrorist and deserved to die. In another post you talked about bipartisan oversight. How did that work in regard to Benghazi? How has that worked regarding financial fraud? Do you truly trust anyone in Washington to have the ability to oversee this? I have no problem killing American traitors and terrorists, so hopefully we can avoid that strawman. NeoConScum is right in that these people are evil and they hate us. They hate our freedom, they hate our prosperity, they hate everything that most Americans are proud of, especially the constitution. The more we erode our Bill of Rights, the closer they get to victory. I for one do not want to aid them in destroying the very thing that makes America a shining example to the world.

        Ragspierre in reply to lightning. | February 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm

        First, learn what a straw-man fallacy is. What you said was just false. Noting it is not my bad.

        Second, I am not supportive of the Obamic practice, as I’ve made clear. I AM supportive of drone strikes, with very important qualifications. One being they should not EVER be employed for crass political expediency, as Obama uses them.

        Third, get informed; at least two Deemocrat senators are joining in calling for legislation that would require other-branch oversight.

        Fourth, your post is self-contradictory. You have no problem with killing terrorists, but you have no hope that it can be done by actual fallible people.

        We cannot expect effective oversight (which does NOT require “bipartisan” any-flucking-thing [see courts, federal], but you expect effective resistance to terrorism.

        Icepilot in reply to lightning. | February 14, 2013 at 3:03 pm

        During war, POTUS can kill America’s enemies, but must use due process, which involves both other branches of government. Drones are the most parsimonious of killing machines wrt the innocent, but not perfect. Craving for a perfect world has killed more innocents than drones are ever likely to. Let Congress and the Courts figure this out – that is, curb the Executive.

          Ragspierre in reply to Icepilot. | February 14, 2013 at 4:12 pm

          “Drones are the most parsimonious of killing machines wrt the innocent, but not perfect.”

          Nonsense. SpecOps are FAR more discriminating, AND you have the bonus of a potential capture, not just a dead person.

          A Hellfire missile is VERY not-parsimonious.

          Ragspierre in reply to Icepilot. | February 14, 2013 at 4:17 pm

          “…due process, which involves both other branches of government…”

          No. Due process should involve some judicial input, case-by-case. OVERSIGHT would involve the legislative branch.

          Currently, we have to have judicial permission to detain, but not kill.

          Icepilot in reply to Icepilot. | February 14, 2013 at 4:49 pm

          I’m happy to concede your point on SpecOps and even the insight on Oversight, but remain firm on the rest.

On one hand, it is a good question. There are LOTS of other questions I’d put to Brennen, more along the lines of his apparent amorous relationship with Islam.

On the other hand, it is kind of a vacant question; the instrument isn’t an issue, but whether the Obamic regime feels like it can kill American citizens willy-nilly on American soil…using any means…and on what predicates.

I frankly don’t get all the “drone dread”.

I will not allow a vote on this nomination until Mr. Brennan openly responds to the questions and concerns my colleagues and I share.

Sounds like he wants a promise.

Good luck with that.

However, the White House’s drone policies are causing concerns that cross political lines. I sense Paul’s leadership in this matter is going to be an example for other conservatives to follow, and will be appreciated by members of both parties — now and in the future.

While I was reading the “There is some speculation…” paragraph, I was disappointed and almost clicked away. I’m glad I stayed and read on because the following paragraph, the one I copied above, has absolutely the right focus.

One of the easiest and believable ways to marginalize or denigrate a person or a movement is to ascribe selfish motives.

I said believable because I think people will believe a “for personal gain motive” long before they believe a “altruistic motive”. An example of this tactic in use is when Beckle on “The Five” tried to dismiss Dr. Ben Carson’s speech at the prayer breakfast by saying “he got his 5 minutes of fame, lets move on”

And speaking of Dr. Carson, just think of what he and his wife did to help educate children while two doors down sat Obama who took the Annenberg millions and shoved it into his and his friends pockets and left the children it was meant to help to rot. So you think Obama felt any shame as he sat there?
I wish someone would write a book on that speech starting with the choice of opening scriptures.

Paul and Rubio, each clearly angling for 2016, both good candidates. At this point, however, it is Paul who is ‘doing’ while Rubio is ‘talking. Good on Rand Paul, who thereby takes a ten foot lead in a 1000 mile race.

I’d like an answer from Brennan on what his Analysis Corp contractors at State did to obama’s passport records. But that’s unsophisticated and probably racist.

Can the President kill America’s enemies during time of war? Yes (& I’d be surprised if the SCOTUS would rule otherwise). But that doesn’t prevent a rigorous due process that, at a minimum, informs both other branches of government, ahead of time – Who, and Why?

This is not an emergency situation.

[…]  Rand Paul has got him some guts. I like how the MSM, who never say a harsh word of the Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee or DWS or Harry Reid, never fail to label Rand the “extreme” Tea Partier. Yea for us who elected him. […]