Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said on Wednesday that he would hold the nomination of John Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency until he receives sufficient responses to two letters he sent on the use of drones.
“I have asked Mr. Brennan if he believed that the president has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and my question remains unanswered,” Paul said in a statement.
“I will not allow a vote on this nomination until Mr. Brennan openly responds to the questions and concerns that my colleagues and I share.”
Paul opposed the Obama administration’s use of drones in his response to the State of the Union address for the tea party Tuesday night.
“We will not tolerate secret lists of American citizens who can be killed without trial,” Paul said in his response.
He has contended that the classified drones program violates the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees Americans due process under the Constitution.
Paul’s letters to Brennan follow the leaking of a Justice Department memo that sanctions the use of drones against a broader range of terrorism targets, with less evidence, than had been believed.
“These issues must be discussed openly so that the American people can understand what constraints exist on the government’s power to use lethal force against its citizens,” Paul said on Wednesday. “Before confirming Mr. Brennan as the head of the CIA, it must be apparent that he understands and will honor the protections provided to every American by the Constitution.”
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