The Untied States Senate confirmed John Brennan to serve as the next CIA Director. Brennan’s confirmation came after Senator Rand Paul’s 13 hour old-school filibuster that brought attention to the White House’s use of drones and specifically whether the administration believed it could target Americans on American soil with the use of lethal force. From CBS News:
“I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA. I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court,” he said.
Ultimately, Paul stepped down to go to the bathroom — he quipped in an interview with Glenn Beck this morning that he had considered using a catheter — but he made his point. This afternoon, Attorney General Eric Holder answered Paul’s question in a brief, almost palpably snarky letter.
“It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?'” Holder wrote. “The answer to that question is no.”
Upon receiving an answer to his question Paul, who had pledged to hold up Brennan’s confirmation vote until he heard from the White House, agreed to let the vote proceed.