February 13th, 2013
04:30 PM ET
9 years 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 (60 Responses)
  1. 2020

    Rand Paul has no brain, left or right. or right from wrong.

    he acts like a 2 year old spoit brad.

    February 14, 2013 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  2. Philosin

    Whatever be his motive, that I suspect are far from being coherent or genuine, I believe the proliferation of Drones need to be questioned. We cannot sustain this level of abstraction and lack of accountability in taking an innocent life. Even one!!!

    February 14, 2013 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  3. DP

    Too bad I don't live in Paul Rand's district. I would have done everything in my power to boot him out of office. GOP has not learned from the crushing election defeat. Their self destruct mode has picked up even more steam this year.

    February 14, 2013 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  4. colt45

    Where is my comment?

    February 14, 2013 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  5. ghost

    Amen Doc1. As long as they are in this country when it happens, drone on.

    February 14, 2013 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  6. reality check

    You guys actually agree that killing fellow Americans without trial or evidence is a good thing? This isn't a repub or dem issue. Its the core seperation between democracy and dictatorship.

    February 14, 2013 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  7. Big Lon

    I think what is being forgotten here is that it's not a politician that is deciding to utilize drone attacks on terrorists..... it's the Commander in Chief making these decisions. I can't think of anyone more suited to make these decisions then the head of the armed forces and his commanders.... Not to mention that drones are what are allowing our men and women to finally come home from the battlefields of the Middle East.

    February 14, 2013 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  8. John

    A question to the Dems out there, with a hope that you'll think hard on it- if you think Rand Paul is out of line, would you think the same if W. had implemented the same policies that Obama has put in place, and a Democrat Senator had asked the same question?

    February 14, 2013 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  9. fayray11

    same old same old. the party of NO, hate, lies and insults do the ONLY thing they know how to do.

    February 14, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  10. ladyjag

    In the words of John Wayne, Mr. Rand you are a coward, you care about your name in the news, you do not care about the safety of the AMERICAN PEOPLE,

    February 14, 2013 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
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