Senator's filibuster of Obama CIA pick comes to an end after nearly 13 hours
By Michael Mathes, AFPWASHINGTON--A Republican senator seeking to block President Barack Obama's pick to lead the CIA over concerns about drone strikes on U.S. soil completed a nearly 13-hour speaking filibuster early Thursday.
March 8, 2013, 12:34 am TWN
In a remarkable display highlighting the partisan rift in Washington, Rand Paul led the filibuster of John Brennan's appointment after the White House refused to unequivocally rule out drone strikes on U.S. soil.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, tried to bring the blocking tactic to a close, but Paul, a favorite of the Republican Party's conservative Tea Party faction, refused to stop.
His oratory held up any other Senate action as he railed against U.S. policy on targeted killings from 11:47 a.m. (1647 GMT) Wednesday until 12:39 a.m. (0539 GMT) Thursday — a total of 12 hours and 52 minutes.
During the marathon delaying tactic, Paul said he would be happy to yield the floor “if the president or the attorney general will clarify that they are not going to kill non-combatants in America.”
The issue has gained fresh currency on Capitol Hill, with senators from both parties pressing Attorney General Eric Holder on whether the administration believes drone attacks on American soil could be justified.
Paul demanded answers from President Barack Obama on the secret unmanned aerial drone program, which has emerged as the most contentious element of Brennan's nomination to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
“I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan's nomination for the CIA,” he said shortly before noon.
“I will speak until I can no longer speak. 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 guilty by a court.”