Showdown in Senate as Rand Paul Filibuster Engulfs Obama Drone Program
Rand Paul Filibusters Brennan Nomination for CIA Director (Washington Times)
After years in the shadows, the administration’s secret drone program burst into very public view Wednesday with lawmakers grilling the attorney general over legal justification for targeted killings and Sen. Rand Paul launching an old-style one-man filibuster to demand answers from President Obama.
The Kentucky Republican held the floor for hours, effectively blocking a vote on the nomination of John O. Brennan, whom Mr. Obama has tapped to be CIA director. He said he would relent only if the administration publicly vowed not to target Americans on U.S. soil.
“This is a long, drawn-out day, but it’s to try to get some answers,” Mr. Paul said after he crossed the eight-hour mark late Wednesday evening. “It’s to try to shame the president into doing the right thing.”
Democrats, who control the chamber, were forced to delay a vote on the Brennan nomination until at least Thursday, and it could go into the weekend, depending on what other blockades Republicans erect.
At issue is the administration’s argument that it can kill those it suspects have ties to terrorism, including U.S. citizens, without having to put them on trial.
The fulcrum of the debate is the drone program, started under President George W. Bush and expanded by Mr. Obama, which many lawmakers said gives too much power to the executive branch — and raises tricky questions about whether drones could be used to execute Americans in the United States.