Skip to comments.Rand Paul responds: I never said drones should never be used to kill U.S. citizens on American soil
Posted on 04/24/2013 9:15:29 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Here's the statement he released last night, following the Cavuto segment that Ed wrote about yesterday. I think he's right: Even during the filibuster, he allowed for the use of military force (i.e. drones) to stop an attack on U.S. soil that's in progress. His objection was to the White House using drones to liquidate someone who was merely plotting, who hadn't lifted a finger (yet) to do any actual damage.
“My comments last night left the mistaken impression that my position on drones had changed.
“Let me be clear: it has not. Armed drones should not be used in normal crime situations. They only may only be considered in extraordinary, lethal situations where there is an ongoing, imminent threat. I described that scenario previously during my Senate filibuster.
“Additionally, surveillance drones should only be used with warrants and specific targets.
“Fighting terrorism and capturing terrorists must be done while preserving our constitutional protections. This was demonstrated last week in Boston. As we all seek to prevent future tragedies, we must continue to bear this in mind.”
That’s super, but that’s not what most people took from the filibuster. The big-picture point was that, on American soil at least, U.S. citizens deserve due process from the feds that foreign terrorist suspects don’t get, which is hard to reconcile with Paul telling Cavuto that having a drone kill a suspect who’s just robbed a liquor store is no different than the cops doing it. Foreign Policy, writing about the uproar among Ron Paul fans over Rand’s comments, notes this line from the beginning of his filibuster:
I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.
Per that logic, you assuredly don’t want a drone firing at the liquor-store suspect. The guy hasn’t been charged or convicted yet; he’s not engaged in any sort of terrorist attack; there’s no obvious need for military weaponry like drones to stop him when the police are available. The whole point of the filibuster, I thought, was to raise the bar for using lethal drones in the United States as high as possible. Now he seems to be lowering it to include common crime. Huh?
Rick Ungar makes a good point too about the back and forth between Holder and Paul before the filibuster. Remember this passage from the letter Holder sent to Paul on March 5 addressing his concerns about domestic drone use against terror plotters?
The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront. It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States. For example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances like a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001.
That sounds like Paul’s position: Drones are okay in emergency situations, when there’s an attack in progress. The day after Holder sent him that letter, though, Paul’s office issued an indignant response:
Attorney General Holder stated in a letter to Sen. Paul dated March 4, 2013: “It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.”
“The U.S. Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening – it is an affront the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans,” Sen. Paul said.
It was a constitutional abomination that Holder wouldn’t categorically rule out drone strikes (except in an emergency defense of the homeland) sufficient to warrant a 13-hour filibuster, and a month later Paul’s telling Cavuto that it’s okay to drop a bomb on a liquor-store robber? What? Even his new standard announced in last night’s statement about drones being okay in “extraordinary, lethal situations where there is an ongoing, imminent threat” seems a bit lower than Holder’s standard of 9/11-type mass attacks. No wonder the Ron Paul fans are angry.
What you’re seeing here is really just an especially stark example of Rand Paul trying to somehow maintain his Paulworld libertarian cred while straining to please more mainstream conservatives ahead of 2016. The filibuster was clever because it pleased both groups, taking a stand on civil liberties to make Obama squirm. But the Tsarnaev case ended up highlighting just how narrow his objection was: He’s not against using lethal drones against U.S. citizens on American soil unless they’re merely suspected of plotting something. If they’re suspected of having actually done something violent — whether it’s been proved yet or not — then go nuts, I guess. And truth be told, Paul’s filibuster “victory,” culminating in a letter from Holder affirming that drones won’t be used unless a suspect is “engaged in combat,” was always a thin victory. The whole point of the debate is how you define “combat”; the White House’s lawyers define it broadly, so Holder’s letter really ended up conceding nothing. Oh well.
So what? It's what Paul SAID during the filibuster. I heard him repeatedly say that he was not talking about using a drone to stop an ongoing attack, but someone who was NOT an immediate threat. If "most people" can't understand the distinction, that's not Rand Paul's fault.
Maybe because the media made sure that’s not what most people took from the filibuster. -Gasp!
-> Additionally, surveillance drones should only be used with warrants and specific targets.
Do not need to start down this path. No to drones. None
on the US citizen.
PDS is apparently transferable. Some folks won’t care what Rand says, or what his stated policies would actually do... It’s all about trying to twist it into something negative to then use against someone with the last name “Paul”.
After all, we can’t have pro-freedom, pro-Constitution, smaller/limited government ideas catching hold. That’d upset the balance of power between bigger government Democrat Socialists and their ideological counterparts in the bigger government GOP-e.
Its not the communicators fault his message is misunderstood? While he takes advantage of that misunderstanding?
His example was a really bad guy sitting in a cafe. And he originally just wanted Holder to answer a question, which he refused to do.
My problem with drones is the use of them for surveillance where there is no warrant and no probable cause. Such as, EPA counting how many cows you have.
Using them in a case where a helicopter might properly be used, such as in giving chase to a fugitive, or covering an ongoing police operation, is no different than using a chopper. But since a cop only has the right to kill a suspect if that suspect is in that moment trying to kill someone, a drone should normally never be used for that purpose. If you draw down on a cop, the cop has the right to defend himself. For a drone to be used in such a situation, we’re talking about something way past ordinary crime.
In any case, a guy like Holder should be able to explain his views on that, and couldn’t.
Supporting drones on US soil is not a pro-freedom or smaller/limited government idea.
If he states it clearly, which Paul did, no. Anymore than it's the Founding Father's fault that the average voter doesn't understand the Constituon.
Under ALL circumstances? Including active enemy action on our soil? After all, that is exactly what Rand was talking about. Hence the 1941 reference.
Or are you idiot enough to think that we shouldn’t use drones under ANY circumstances? Even if we’re being invaded...
Comparing Paul to the Founding Fathers is laughable.
Well since you’ve started out with an insult to me you can KMA.
The should be used in one case, to bomb your house.
He didn’t. Which, since you stated he did... Makes you laughable.
->Supporting drones on US soil is not a pro-freedom or smaller/limited government idea.
Thanks for posting that. This is the truth. Nothing more.
I was asking a question. If you took insult from it, that’s your problem.
If you’d like to talk it over, come see me in person and we can discuss this.
The problem is the "U.S. citizens" part especially now that we have become a country inundated by illegal aliens, those overstaying their visas, greencarders, and the whole realm of non-citizen interlopers.
And what makes you think I care what you think?
I wasn’t “comparing Paul to the Founding Fathers”. I was using an analogy about the ignorance of the audience, and the inability of many people to understand anyhing more complicated than a 2nd grade level.
But I would say that Paul understands and respects the Constitution more than 99.9% of politicians.
“After all, we cant have pro-freedom, pro-Constitution, smaller/limited government ideas catching hold. Thatd upset the balance of power between bigger government Democrat Socialists and their ideological counterparts in the bigger government GOP-e.”
I have been on the Rand Paul bandwagon but I think we can all agree that droning a guy running out of a liquor store with $50 bucks in his hand is not smaller govt. Rand seems to be fine tuning the art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I am very disappointed in his immigration stance and this drone comment.
All those folks supporting the two whacko Pauls regardless of what they say. I actually liked what he said during the filibuster until I heard an interview he did the next day.
During the interview he said he was not filibustering what everyone thought he was. He was filibustering Senate rules.
Can't believe people are for this. Drones being used in America. He set the opening they could if they had a warrant blah blah blah and if it was a suspected really really bad guy. Not one word from Paul about the police overreaching in Boston. Nothing. Some cases were way over the line. Even my police officer son said wait a minute here. So, now a new division amongst us. I have my side. No drones at all on our citizens.
“But I would say that Paul understands and respects the Constitution more than 99.9% of politicians.”
And I would say he wants you to think that, but it isn’t reality. Like father like son.
That fact that you stated quit clearly your belief that I should have a drone sent to my house to kill me.
Interesting that you refuse to even come talk to me in person.
Lack of courage I guess.
I see his stance as a more of a refusal to rule out legit use of a new tool. Replace warranted surveillance tools with something more cost effective.
He does not condone arming these domestic drones for regular law enforcement use. That much should be clear.
You guys are right. In fact, we should stop ALL police patrols effective immediately. Nor should we, under warrant and signed affidavit, ever perform any kind of surveillance on anyone under investigation.
All over-flights of helicopters, small aircraft, and squad car patrols should hereby be halted.
Would that satisfy you? If you are being logically consistent, that is what you would have to do. Replacing helo or Cessna warrant ordered over-flights with a cost effective remote drone is what Rand is talking about. Not the UNWARRANTED and arbitrary use we’ve been complaining about the government doing.
Y’all would know this if you’d bother to actually think about what is being said.
PDS is a sad thing to see on display.
Both untrue and unfair. It's precisely the kind of distinction that Rand is making here that seperates him from his father.
How do you know there aren’t cross hairs on you right this minute. The govt could have a drone watching you and the pilots finger is on the fire button.
All approved by Paul because you have been labeled ‘dangerous’.
Due process, we don’t need no stinkin due process. We have HUGE out of control egos and keyboards to hide behind.
True and fair.
He supports the illegal immigration and now this. Actions speak loudly and he has failed.
Terrorism is one of those areas. It IS the government's constitutional job to provide a defense for the homeland. If people don't think that includes modern technology...then they need to get rid of their AR's...and stop all helo's with FLIR capability...among NUMEROUS other things.
People are funny. They want all their modern conveniences...but want law enforcement to act like the Amish...anything higher than that is an assualt on their civil rights. It's easier for the left to maginalize people when they give them reason after reason tht defies common sense.
Your projection aside, I'm as dangerous as buttermilk and anyone surveilling me for more than five minutes would be able to figure that out.
You, on the other hand, are issuing death threats...
“He does not condone arming these domestic drones for regular law enforcement use. That much should be clear”
Lets face reality, saying that you don’t care if a guy running out of a liquor store with $50 in his hand is killed by a drone or a cop is pretty much regular law enforcement.
This drone thing has got to be nipped in the bud or its going to be ruling us in 5 years from now.
LOL yer funny
Drones are only the start. In DOD circles there are companies selling all kinds of remote detection/monintoring systems. Its all public information and available for any govt entity in the US.
All drones do is replace what they are currently doing with one tool, with a different tool.
We have too many laws and too much government.
Want to over-fly my property with a drone? Get a warrant.
That is what Rand is saying. Anything else is pure PDS imagination.
I wish I could say the same for you.
“Want to over-fly my property with a drone? Get a warrant.”
They aren’t getting warrants and they aren’t telling you.
Which is what Rand, the guy you are pissing and moaning about, wanted stopped.
Or did you miss that part?
There is no "now this". It's exactly the same position he made clear during the filibuster. As for illegal immgration, I don't agree with him there, but that hardly makes him a clone of his dad or wrong about everything else. I can't think of any politician I've ever agreed with 100% of the time.
He’s supporting the use of Drones. Once they have drones they will use them. They won’t be allowed to sit on the bench waiting for a warrant. Call it training like the Air Force does when they use drones over the US.
Heck the FBI doesn’t get warrants for traditional law enforcement under their current exceptions. Why would they change.
Not agreeing with a politician is one thing.
Supporting a politician who is supporting big govt ideas that slam freedom is another.
They have drones. They are currently being used. Rand wants that use reigned in and put under warrant requirements like all other surveillance tools.
And you have a problem with that...
You seem to have trouble comprehending many things.
I’d rather have trouble comprehending things than be in your shoes where comprehension is apparently impossible.
Then he should be advocating our protection against using any drones at all. As the others are saying, allowing them to be used in any instance, to kill a US citizen, possibly, is not a path to open and it's not my America. The Patriot Act supporters knock yourselves out hiding under the fear more easily of war; people tend to allow their liberties to be given away versus cherishing them. That's what I see. It is a dangerous path to open this as a law enforcement tool. I get law/order and respectful to police officers since I see many sides of that in my own family for many years/generations as well as understanding military veterans. Our liberties have to be protected. Where do we stop at?
That is a flat out lie. Lying is a very bad character trait to develop. People tend not to like liars.
He has made a statement so now he is being ask about it.
You guys have to realize that some do not fully trust Rand like some here bash me for liking/having some faith in Newt and Palin. Not trying to destroy anyone. The drone issue and his views on illegals; allowing them to have a forgiveness to move them each to a legal status has been a huge disappointment for me.
He supports immigration reform aka the immigration bill 9slowed or not) and illegal immigration.
Its not a lie. You people with PDS are nasty.
If someone was holding my family hostage and a small drone could take them out I would be all in favor of using the drone and you would be too. So cut out the hypocrisy and just admit you hate Rand Paul and are going to give him the “Palin treatment”.