Business in the Senate ground to a halt Wednesday as Sen. Rand Paul — aided by colleagues from both parties — launched into an old-fashioned filibuster, as he tried to hold up the nomination of John Brennan for CIA director over concerns about the president’s authority to kill Americans with drones.
Paul’s filibuster was shaping up to be among the longest in U.S. history. The late Rep. Strom Thurmond holds the record, at more than 24 hours, but Paul was cruising into his ninth hour — which is around when most filibusters flame out. As of 8 p.m., Paul was still talking on the Senate floor.
Paul, R-Ky., is one of several lawmakers — on both sides of the aisle — who has raised concerns about the legal justification for launching drone strikes against Americans overseas. But Paul took to the floor after receiving a statement from Attorney General Eric Holder that creaked open the door to the possibility of using a drone to kill an American inside the United States.
“To allow one man to accuse you in secret — you never get notified you’ve been accused,” Paul said on the floor. “Your notification is the buzz of propellers on the drone as it flies overhead in the seconds before you’re killed. Is that what we really want from our government?”
Paul said he’d be raising the same complaints under a Republican president.
“No one politician should be allowed to judge the guilt, to charge an individual, to judge the guilt of an individual and to execute an individual. It goes against everything that we fundamentally believe in our country,” he said.
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