With his first two inquiries unanswered, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) sent a third request yesterday to CIA nominee John Brennan to respond to his concerns about the use of drone strikes.
Paul, who has promised to filibuster the nomination unless he gets replies about the legality of using strikes inside the U.S., wrote Brennan on Jan. 25 and Feb. 12. Both letters were ignored.
“If it is not clear that you will honor the limits placed upon the Executive Branch by the Constitution, then the Senate should not confirm you to lead the CIA,” Paul wrote this week.
“During your confirmation process in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), committee members have quite appropriately made requests similar to questions I raised in my previous letter to you—that you expound on your views on the limits of executive power in using lethal force against U.S. citizens, especially when operating on U.S. soil.”
Paul noted that when Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) asked Brennan about whether the administration could carry out drone strikes on U.S. soil, Brennan said the administration “has not carried out” such strikes and “has no intention of doing so.”
“I do not find this response sufficient,” Paul said. “The question that I and many others have asked is not whether the Administration has or intends to carry out drone strikes inside the United States, but whether it believes it has the authority to do so. This is an important distinction that should not be ignored.”
President Obama also recently answered such a question vaguely, replying “there has never been a drone used on an American citizen on American soil.”
“The evasive replies to this valid question from the Administration have only confused the issue further without getting us any closer to an actual answer,” Paul wrote.
“Until you directly and clearly answer, I plan to use every procedural option at my disposal to delay your confirmation and bring added scrutiny to this issue and the Administration’s policies on the use of lethal force. The American people are rightfully concerned, and they deserve a frank and open discussion on these policies.”