Paul's filibuster provokes answer from Holder

Rand Paul and Eric Holder AP Photo

This post was updated at 3:17 p.m. ET

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., spoke for over 12 hours on the Senate floor yesterday, staging a filibuster of John Brennan's nomination to be CIA director.

Paul objected to the administration's recent assertion that it could legally use a drone strike against an American on U.S. soil in "extraordinary" circumstances that posed an imminent threat to national security, and today, it appeared as though the White House had taken note, with Attorney General Eric Holder responding to a letter Paul sent to the administration regarding the use of drones on U.S. soil.

White House press secretary Jay Carney read both Paul's question and Holder's response at today's briefing.

"Senator Paul has raised questions about the president's authority to use leghal force within the United States, which John Brennan and the Attorney General have both answered," Carney said. "Today, Sen. Paul raised an additional question and the Attorney General has answered it."

According to Carney, Paul asked, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?"

In his response, also read by Carney, Holder replied succinctly: "The answer to that question is no."

In a statement, Paul called Holder's response a "major victory for American civil liberties and ensures the protection of our basic Constitutional rights."

"We have Separation of Powers to protect our rights," he added. "That's what government was organized to do and that's what the Constitution was put in place to do. I would like to congratulate my fellow colleagues in both the House and Senate and thank them for joining me in protecting the rights of due process."

At the briefing today, Carney further urged lawmakers "promptly" confirm Brennan as CIA director, noting that his nomination cleared the Senate Intelligence Committee on a broad, bipartisan vote and adding, "This debate has nothing to do with the qualifications of John Brennan - Senator Paul said as much himself yesterday."

  • Jake Miller

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