In the latest chapter of Rand Paul's ongoing opposition to the administration's use of drone strikes, the Kentucky senator on Wednesday began a talking filibuster of President Barack Obama's nomination of John Brennan to lead the CIA.
“I will speak until I can no longer speak,” Paul said from the Senate floor at around 11:45 a.m.
Paul had asked the administration last month to explain whether the president "has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil and without trial." He argues this violates Americans' constitutional rights.
Attorney General Eric Holder responded to Paul in a letter released on Tuesday that Obama does have the authority to target Americans with unmanned aerial vehicles, but "has no intention" of doing so. The only exception, he said, was if the U.S. were facing an "extraordinary circumstance."
Paul, who had previously threatened to filibuster Brennan's nomination, called Holder's response "frightening" and “an affront to the constitutional due process rights of all Americans.”
Brennan has defended the administration's use of drone strikes abroad.
During his filibuster Wednesday, Paul spoke broadly about civil liberties and specifically about his issue with the administration. "This is an important issue that goes beyond John Brennan," Paul said, adding he holds nothing "personally" against Brennan or the president, but that his filibuster is rooted in principle.
At one point, Paul likened Obama to a "king" and accused Obama of changing his position on constitutional rights after becoming "intoxicated with power."
Paul stressed that Americans should not allow their fear of terrorism to override basic rights.