13-hour speech doesn't stop CIA vote

2013-03-07 18:58
Senator Rand Paul (Senate Television, AP)

Senator Rand Paul (Senate Television, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Washington - He spoke for 13 hours straight, but a Republican senator's attempt to block confirmation of President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the CIA over questions about the possible use of unmanned drones against US citizens, ended early on Thursday.

Senator Rand Paul, a son of former Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul and a possible candidate himself in 2016, started just before midday on Wednesday by demanding that Obama or his attorney general issue a statement assuring that drones would not be used in the US to kill terrorism suspects who are citizens.

His marathon performance energised his colleagues, who stepped up to support him by reading tweets and Shakespeare.

But Paul finally ceded the floor shortly after midnight.

A confirmation vote on the CIA pick, John Brennan, had been pushed for Wednesday before Paul started speaking.

Brennan now serves as Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser in the White House.

The vote on Brennan is now possible later this week.

Paul said he recognised that he can't stop Brennan from being confirmed. But he said the nomination was the right vehicle for a debate over the government's ability to conduct lethal operations against suspected terrorists.

Drones have become the centrepiece of the Obama administration's campaign against al-Qaeda suspects.

"No president has the right to say he is judge, jury and executioner," Paul said.

The filibuster, as the rarely used delaying tactic is known, is the latest challenge to Obama's cabinet picks that need confirmation by the Democrat-controlled chamber.

So far, only Senator John Kerry's nomination for secretary of state was approved without problem.

Not all Republicans were enthusiastic about Paul's performance. Senator Lindsey Graham said the prospect of drones being used to kill people in the US was "ridiculous”.

Congressman Mike Rogers, the chairperson of the House Intelligence Committee, said it is unconstitutional for the US military or intelligence agencies to conduct lethal counter-terrorism operations in the US against citizens.

Suggesting they can or might, Rogers said, "provokes needless fear and detracts attention from the real threats facing the country”.

Expanded use of drones

Paul read from notebooks filled with articles about the expanded use of drones.

Senate rules say a senator has to remain on the floor to continue to hold it, even though he can yield to another senator for a question.

Paul snacked on candy at the dinner hour while continuing to speak. Well-wishers with privileges to be on the Senate floor shook his hand when he temporarily turned the speaking over to his colleagues.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz read Twitter messages from people eager to "Stand With Rand”.

As the night went on, Cruz an insurgent Republican with strong backing from the conservative tea party movement, read passages from Shakespeare's "Henry V" and lines from the 1970 movie "Patton," starring George C Scott.

The record for the longest individual speech on the Senate floor belongs to former Senator Strom Thurmond, who protested for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

Paul ended his lengthy speech by saying he was tempted to try to break Thurmond's record, but he needed to use the bathroom.

"I discovered that there are some limits to filibustering, and I'm going to have to go and take care of one of those in a few minutes," Paul said.

Lethal force inappropriate

Attorney General Eric Holder, the country's top lawyer, came close to making the statement Paul wanted earlier in the day during an exchange with Cruz at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, according to Paul.

Cruz asked Holder if the Constitution allowed the federal government to kill a US citizen on US soil who doesn't pose an imminent threat. Holder said the situation was hypothetical, but he did not think that in that situation the use of a drone or lethal force would be appropriate.

Cruz criticised Holder for not simply saying "no" in response.

In a letter sent on Tuesday to Paul, Brennan said the CIA does not have authority to conduct lethal operations inside the US.

Holder told Paul in a 4 March letter that the federal government has not conducted such operations and has no intention of doing so. But Holder also wrote that he supposed it was possible under an "extraordinary circumstance" that the president would have no choice but to authorise the military to use lethal force inside US borders.

Holder cited the attacks at Pearl Harbour in 1941 and on 11 September 2001, as examples.

If confirmed, Brennan would replace Michael Morell, the CIA's deputy director who has been acting director since David Petraeus resigned in November after acknowledging an affair with his biographer.

- AP

Read more on:    cia  |  al-qaeda  |  barack obama  |  us
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Paarden Eiland - 12:20 PM
    Road name: Marine Drive Inbound
    QUEUING TRAFFIC towards N1 Highway
  • Friday Cape Town - 12:15 PM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    STATIONARY VEHICLE on the Marine Drive exit
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2508.80

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be putting too much effort into someone or something. You are doing it out of love and compassion but there is a chance...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.