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Thursday, March 07, 2013

In Response To Senator Rand Paul's Admirable Drone Filibuster, Eric Holder Clarifies POTUS Barack Obama's Position On Use Of Drones Against Americans While John McCain And Lindsey Graham Reveal Why Both Of Them Must Be Defeated At The Polls. Thanks, Rand Paul.

Holder Clarifies View on U.S. Drone Strikes

WASHINGTON—Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter Thursday to Sen. Rand Paul to clarify the Obama administration's view on the use of lethal force on American soil, an issue that provoked the Kentucky Republican to wage a nearly 13-hour filibuster against the president's nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

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Attorney General Eric Holder appears Wednesday before a Senate committee. His letter issued Thursday is a more unequivocal statement of a view he gave at the Senate hearing.
Mr. Holder's letter was described by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil? The answer is no," Mr. Carney said, reading an excerpt during a news briefing.
The letter by Mr. Holder could clear the way for a vote on President Barack Obama's choice for CIA director, John Brennan. It is a more unequivocal statement of a view Mr. Holder advanced under questioning Wednesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

However, in an earlier letter, Mr. Holder appeared to allude to circumstances where a drone strike on an individual in the U.S. would be permissible.

After that letter, Mr. Paul demanded the White House agree that it would be unconstitutional to kill an American not engaged in combat. Mr. Holder's letter Thursday appears to meet that demand, and could end the argument between Mr. Paul and the administration over the use of armed U.S. drones.

Mr. Paul spoke from just before noon Wednesday until after midnight Thursday morning to protest the lack of clarity in the administration's view.
Senate Democrats were working to schedule a vote later Thursday on Mr. Brennan's nomination, although Mr. Paul's surprise filibuster has scrambled the politics of the confirmation debate.
The filibuster energized many Republican senators, who flocked to the floor late into the night to encourage Mr. Paul, who stayed in the chamber for the duration as required under Senate rules.

Two top Republicans, however, expressed annoyance with the filibuster, and said they planned to vote for Mr. Brennan's confirmation. Both said on the Senate floor that Mr. Holder was right in an earlier response not to rule out targeting an American combatant on American soil.
"I am going to vote for Brennan now because it's become a referendum over the drone program," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) told reporters. He had been planning to vote against Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, because "I thought Brennan was arrogant; kind of a bit shifty."

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) separately told reporters that he, too, would vote for Mr. Brennan. The two men disagree with Mr. Paul and other lawmakers who are pressing for clear limits on the use of unmanned drones to target Americans on U.S. soil.
During his floor speech, Mr. McCain read a Wall Street Journal editorial chiding Mr. Paul, and adding his own scolding: "I don't think what happened yesterday was helpful to the American people." Mr. McCain said that while the nation "needs a discussion" of drone policy, Mr. Paul's assertion "that the United States of America would drop a Hellfire missile on Jane Fonda brings a serious discussion into the realm of the ridiculous."

He was joined by Mr. Graham, a former Air Force judge advocate, who asked: "What is it all of a sudden that this drone program has gotten every Republican so spun up?" Mr. Graham said that Mr. Obama had the "good judgment to understand we're at war. To my party: I'm a bit disappointed that you no longer apparently think we're at war."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) also took to the floor Thursday morning, outlining the schedule, and offering some words of praise for Mr. Paul.
"I have been involved in a few filibusters, as Rand Paul did yesterday. And what I have learned from my experiences in talking filibusters is this: To succeed, you need strong convictions but also a strong bladder. It's obvious Sen. Paul has both."

Editor's note:To read more, visit New York Times.com.

Editor's commentWe are now satisfied with the clarification contained in Eric Holder's letter to Rand Paul. T read more than what's above, go here.

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