Both Paul and Obama win with Brennan nomination
(CBS News) WASHINGTON - The Senate today confirmed John Brennan to be the new director of the CIA. The vote was 63 to 34.
Brennan has been President Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser and earlier spent 25 years at the CIA.
The confirmation came after Sen. Rand Paul, R.-Ky., ended a 13-hour filibuster. He'd been demanding that the administration say whether it believes the president has the authority to use a drone to kill a U.S. citizen on American soil.
In the end, both Paul and the president got what they wanted.
"No president from no party gets to be judge, jury and executioner," Paul said.
Kentucky's junior senator was seeking a guarantee that drones would not be used to target citizens on U.S. soil unless they were engaged in a terrorist attack.
"I will speak today until the president responds and says 'no, we won't kill Americans in cafes; no, we won't kill you at home in your bed at night.'"
Sen. Paul's monologue reflected wider confusion over the government's use of weaponized drones, a controversy which erupted in January after the president nominated his top counter-terrorism adviser, Brennan, to head the CIA. Under Brennan, drone strikes overseas have increased 500 percent.
"We only take such actions as a last resort to save lives when there's no other alternative to taking an action that's going to mitigate the threat," Brennan said.
Paul's candy-fueled filibuster caused a sensation online and drew some support from his GOP colleagues.
Others, such as Arizona's John McCain called Paul misguided.
"I think we've done a disservice by giving Americans the impression that they're in danger from our government," McCain said. "They're not!"
When asked if he really believes this administration wants to kill Americans sitting in cafes, Paul said "not necessarily, but I'll tell you why I think it's an honest question and it's a serious question."
"Our drone strike program now does currently kill people sitting in cafes overseas," he said. "You don't have to be holding a weapon to be killed by a drone strike overseas. So that's the standard that I don't think is acceptable here."
On Thursday Attorney General Eric Holder sent Paul a terse, two-sentence letter assuring him that the president does not have the authority to use a drone to kill Americans on U.S. soil who are not engaged in combat against the U.S. Paul said that he's satisfied, but still has concerns about the program.
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