April 20, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Paul Lifts Hold on Brennan After White House Answers Drone Question

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Sen. Rand Paul finally has his answer. ďThe answer to that question is no.Ē

Thatís what Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. wrote to the Kentucky Republican in a Thursday letter answering Paulís query about whether the president has the authority to kill noncombatant Americans with armed drones in the United States. It was the question he repeatedly raised Wednesday in an epic filibuster of John O. Brennanís nomination to be director of the CIA.

ďDoes the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil? The answer to that question is no,Ē wrote Holder, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who read a portion of the letter during his daily briefing.

Holderís letter had the desired effect. Shortly after he received it, Paul told CNN that he would lift his hold and allow a vote on the nomination as soon as leaders wanted to hold one. Not long after that, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., scheduled a vote for about 3 p.m.

ďIím quite happy with the answer, and Iím disappointed it took a month-and-a-half and a root canal to get it, but we did get the answer and thatís what Iíve been asking all along,Ē Paul said on CNN. ďThis means that if you live in America, your Fifth Amendment isnít something thatís optional.Ē

Paul said that if he hadnít gotten a response, he might have forced the Senate to hold weekend votes on Brennan. Instead, he withdrew all objections to proceeding to votes on Brennanís confirmation.

ďReally, the whole thing is not just to be spiteful to hold up things,Ē Paul said. ďI wonít make people wait Ďtil Saturday. If I hadnít got an answer, I might.Ē

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