WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) -- Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told USA TODAY Wednesday that
he is prepared to put a "hold" on John Brennan's nomination to head the
CIA, and to filibuster it if necessary, until the administration answers
his questions about the use of drones in the United States.
said he would do "whatever it takes" to delay Brennan's confirmation
until he directly answers whether American citizens legally can be
killed by drone strikes within the United States.
Republican accused Brennan of obfuscating on the issue when it was
raised at confirmation hearings before the Senate Intelligence Committee
last week. Rand on Sunday said he wouldn't vote for Brennan until the
questions were answered, but he raised the stakes in an interview with
"Capital Download," a weekly video series on usatoday.com.
asked a very specific question. . . 'Can you kill an American with a
drone in America?' And he refused to answer the question," Paul said. "I
find that very, very worrisome (and) we're going to do whatever it
takes to get the answer. Can the government, does the government, the
president himself, claim the power to unilaterally kill an American in
America without a trial?"
Brennan, a CIA veteran, has been the
administration's senior counterterrorism official for the past four
years. President Obama nominated him to succeed David Petraeus as head
of the intelligence agency.
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to comment on Rand's threat to delay the nomination.
a Tea Party favorite who was elected to the Senate in 2010, also said
he was interested in running for the Republican presidential nomination
in 2016. "We're thinking about it," he said. "I do want to be part of
the national debate. I want to be part of deciding what the Republican
message is and who the Republican leaders are."
He would be up for
re-election to the Senate in 2016. Could he run for both? "There
probably is a way that could be done, but we haven't finalized any
plans," he said.
His father, former Texas congressman Ron Paul, sought the GOP presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012.
The senator said the GOP needed a stronger libertarian influence.
think the Republican Party is in danger of becoming a permanent
minority party if we keep going in the same direction we are going," he
said. "We're no longer competitive on the West Coast or in New England,
but I think we could be with a little more of a libertarian bent."