February 13th, 2013
04:30 PM ET
10 months ago

Rand Paul to place hold on Brennan nomination

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul, one of the most outspoken critics of President Barack Obama's use of drones to target terrorists overseas, vowed Wednesday to hold up the nomination of one of the program's chief architects.

John Brennan, Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, is under consideration by the Senate to become the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The president nominated him to the post last month.

In a statement, Paul - a Republican from Kentucky - wrote that he still has questions for Brennan surrounding the drone program.

"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, and my question remains unanswered," Paul wrote. "I will not allow a vote on this nomination until Mr. Brennan openly responds to the questions and concerns my colleagues and I share."

Paul, along with some fellow Republicans and Democrats, have called into question the legality of targeting Americans abroad who are suspected of being terrorists. Such a situation arose in 2011, when an American drone was used to kill New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki - who officials said played an operational role in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

On Sunday, Paul said on CNN's "State of the Union" the current system vested too much power in the president, and that measures were needed to ensure that power doesn't go unchecked.

"It's very unseemly that a politician gets to decide the death of an American citizen," Paul said. "There needs to be a trial for treason. The president, or a politician, Republican or Democrat, should never get to decide someone's death by flipping through flash cards."

Paul, who is considered a potential candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, delivered the tea party response to Tuesday night's State of the Union address. He used similar language during those remarks to denounce the use of drones to kill Americans.


Filed under: John Brennan • Rand Paul
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There needs to be some rationale, but I believe to hold the nomination is just silly. No matter who gets the position, the policy is going to be the same short of the Supreme Court stepping.

    February 13, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. ARMYCSM

    We are sworn to protect this country from foreign AND domestic enemies. If you are an American terrorist planning to attack your country...you must die, You must die. Enough said

    February 13, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  3. cbr

    My goodness. What are these Senators eating and drinking? They all want to be number one and they try to outdo each other at every corner. Let's put it to a vote. Perhaps if they lose when we vote on their competence they will see the "light" and move forward instead of standing in the way of the work that this Congress needs to do.

    February 13, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  4. ARTraveler

    Let's see-the last time the GOP did something really stupid. like not listen to Richard Clark,, we ended up with 9/11. Now the wonderboys of lower intelligence want to block both Defense and CIA. Great plan-hopefully for America and Americans, we won't have the same resuilt we got the last time you "super-presidents" decided to not listen!

    Does being elected Senator just make you dumb or is it a requirement for the job as well as thinking you are more important than anyone else in the country?

    February 13, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  5. Raz

    The feds use drones to patrol the border with Canada...but I'm sure that they would NEVER be redeployed to monitor American citizens.

    February 13, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  6. allens

    he is just a typical extreme republican. he cares about the tea party not america.

    February 13, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  7. Kurt

    Paul is such a toad. Why do all those goobers in the south keep electing these crackpots to congress.

    February 13, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  8. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Keep obstructing, Mr. Paul. Yor are as good as defeated, and you "built" it.

    February 13, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  9. Solomon Walker

    Dorner was the first. I believe many Americans will lose their lives by errors or malice or through corruption of law enforcement agencies or orders from the Executive Branch that disagree with Mr. Obama's political standpoint. Who would have believed that such things would exist in the United States – home of the free?

    Not me.

    February 13, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  10. On StreetWise

    I'm not a huge supporter of the Drone Policy. However, when it comes down to sending another 5, 7, 10K+ U. S. Troops (boots on the ground) when our CIA can get one to five folks, sitting on the mud floor plotting for another terrorists attack on our American home turf, its time to call in the Drone Squad and take out the trouble makers, period.

    February 13, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  11. Seriously?

    It matters where the terrorist is born because the American system is set up to have due process for ALL Americans. Americans are not enemy combatants. We are not in a civil war. America should not be designated a war zone. What the hell is wrong with you people. Pull off your partisanship blinders. Obama isn't god and republicans are mighty stupid at times.

    February 13, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  12. carlos

    Go Sen. Paul!

    February 13, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  13. geeworker

    aweeee the little suck weed from KY just want federal funding for his hemp bill that passed recently and until congress gives him and his buddies a couple million to kick start the project he is going to hold the political process hostage

    February 13, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  14. MartyGRMI

    I'm not sure how you can call yourself progressive or a liberal democrat and support Brennan for the CIA post. The man is living proof Obama simply put lipstick on Bush's pig.

    February 13, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  15. Len

    HOP are crazy, racists and obstructionists...vote th all out of office in 2014.....terrible

    February 13, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  16. MesaMax

    This most insidiously opaque administration must be held accountable.

    February 13, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  17. DOG1

    Paul would prefer that we get a bunch of SEALS and Special Forces soldiers killed trying to capture the terrorists for trial. Dead soldiers mean we have an excuse to send more soldiers so more can get killed and on and on. They always use the "so they won't have died in vain" excuse to get more killed. Remember weapons and gear manufacturers, and of course Cheney's KBR corp WAR IS PROFITABLE! Bet Paul's heavily invested too!

    February 13, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  18. independant jim

    Rand Paul should resign from the senate ... this poor excuse for a man should not be allowed to hold up any nomination of anyone ..he doesnt have the brains ... I have noticed though that there are no longer sane republicans ..they have all been run out by the Tea Party

    February 13, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  19. gretabrena

    Damn! I hate to say anything positive about Rand Paul but I am strongly opposed to Obama's drone strikes on anyone - U.S. citizen or otherwise. We kill too many innocent people. WE are terrorists.

    February 13, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  20. facepalm

    Reid needs to realize the republibaggers will never keep to the 'gentlemen's agreement' about filibusters, because not one of them remotely resembles a gentleman.

    Spolied, rotten, nasty little schoolyard bullies, yes; gentlemen,no.

    February 13, 2013 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  21. RealTeaMan

    Rand Paul is a delusional idiot.

    Get ready for 2014 people. Voting is they only logic these bafoons understand. And only that barely. Send these Looney's (like rand Paul) back to the 18th century where they belong.

    February 13, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  22. Fed UP

    It must be really frustrating to be president when he has to contend with small minded people like this.

    February 14, 2013 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  23. Obama is a thief

    Rand Paul is smart. On the other hand, we have Hussein which is clueless.

    February 14, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  24. PJ

    Rand Paul is in love with Obama...he's obsessed with him.

    February 14, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  25. Screwed Again

    No doubt Rand Paul has two brains. One the size of a pea and the other even smaller.

    February 14, 2013 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
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