Rand Paul: ‘We Shouldn’t Be Crisscrossing the Skies With Drones’

by Sara Sorcher, National Journal  |  published on March 4, 2013

rand paul

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is threatening to hold up the nomination of John Brennan for CIA director unless he gets answers to his questions about drones. He talked to National Journal about his concerns about the administration’s targeted-killing program. Edited excerpts of the interview follow.

NJ You’ve asked the Obama administration whether it believes it can kill an American citizen on U.S. soil. Have you received an answer?

PAUL We’ve been sending questions to Brennan for weeks, and we’ve gotten no responses. I think there’s a certain bit of arrogance that they’re not even willing to respond to us at all. I’ve gotten some indirect response from Chairman [Dianne] Feinstein of the Intelligence Committee. [Brennan told Feinstein] that they have not done such strikes as of yet and don’t have any intention to do so. I want to hear the answer that they are not assuming the authority, or they do not believe they have the authority to kill Americans on American soil with a program from the Department of Defense or the CIA.

NJ President Obama also said there has never been a strike against a U.S. citizen on American soil and that rules for the use of drones outside the country are going to be different than for those inside.

PAUL That sort of implies they’re assuming they have some kind of authority inside the United States.

NJ Why is it so important to get a yes or no answer?

PAUL Americans thought it was important that you get a warrant before tapping someone’s phone. I think they would want some due process before they were killed. This pales in comparison to even warrantless wiretapping, because that’s an invasion of your privacy; now we’re talking about killing you. There has to be some kind of judicial oversight. We have terrible people who commit terrible crimes in our country, murderers and rapists. But we don’t summarily execute any of them. They all get a trial, a lawyer on their side. We want to make sure the people who are punished are the guilty ones.

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