Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been spending a lot of time recently working to bring transparency to President Barack Obama’s drones program.
A recently released memo from the Department of Justice laid out a tenuous legal justification for drone strikes on American citizens. While the Obama Administration has promised to explain the “mechanisms” by which they choose their targets, there are still many questions to be answered, including the constitutional issues that come with ignoring the right to due process.
Sen. Paul has said that the nomination of John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is more important than Chuck Hagel’s nomination, which Republicans successfully — though only temporarily — stalled last week. He has asked some hard, pointed questions of John Brennan about President Obama’s drones program, including whether or not the White House would carry out drone strikes on American citizens on American soil. But no real answers have been given, and the lack of transparency with this program and the role the CIA will play has prompted Sen. Paul to call Brennan’s nomination the “preeminent libertarian concern.”
Sen. Paul responded to criticism that he has faced from neoconservatives about this issue during an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.
“What I’m asking is about drone strikes on Americans, on American soil,” Sen. Paul responded. “The president will not answer that he cannot do this. In fact, he seems to be asserting that he can do this.”
Sen. Paul added, “The CIA is not supposed to assassinate people on American soil and the Department of Defense is not allowed to act on American soil because of the Posse Comitatus Act.”
Here’s video of Sen. Paul’s exchange with Chris Wallace (more text below):
These are reasonable question, especially since this is another step down a very concerning road for constitutionally protected liberties. Unfortunately, there are far too many who will not question President Obama on the use of drones against American citizens. Not only are neoconservatives happy with this program, a new study tells us what we already knew — civil liberties don’t matter to the Left as long as President Obama is in the White House.