WASHINGTON – “I will speak until I can no longer speak,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., declared as he took to the floor of the U.S. Senate today to filibuster Barack Obama’s nomination of John Brennan as CIA director.
“I am against the battlefield being declared as my house and my office,” he said, acknowledging, “If our country is a battlefield, if our country is a war zone, what is left?…what are we fighting for if we are not going to fight for our rights at home?”
He warned, “If we diminish one right, we attack the foundation” of others.
Despite his robust defense of liberty on the Senate floor, Paul did admit, “Ultimately I can’t win, there are not enough votes.”
He said his goal is to “raise awareness” of the growing lethality of government power over American citizens. The focal point was Obama’s use of drones to kill people overseas, and confirmation from Attorney General Eric Holder that such an event, while unlikely, is not impossible on U.S. soil.
Paul lamented the president’s evolution on civil liberties, saying Obama “seems to have lost” the “high standard” for civil liberties he held when a senator.
Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, also took turns at the podium, exchanging questions with Paul, becoming de facto participants in the filibuster Paul started.
“The issues that we are discussing today are profound to the American people,” Lee said. He said Americans should not be killed “capriciously.”
Cruz asked Paul for his reaction to the idea of killing Americans with drones.
The Washington Post observed the general apathy of the U.S. Senate on this subject, saying, “At the start if the 1 p.m. hour, Paul was the only senator on the floor. Just 30 people watched from the Senate gallery above while a few security guards, stenographers and Senate pages held their appointed spots on the floor. In the rafters, a man responsible for operating the Senate television cameras was seen reading a newspaper.”
Paul has a strong history of opposing the use of drones on American citizens and Brennan specifically because of his work with such programs.
Today though, Paul did not limit his attacks to Obama and Brennan. As Fox News reported, Paul is also characterizing Attorney General Eric Holder’s claim that the government might use drones against its own citizens within the U.S. as “frightening,” responding to a letter from Holder, released yesterday, prior to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s approval of the Brennan nomination.
The letter from Holder says, “The U.S. has never carried out a drone strike against one of its citizens on American soil, and calls a situation where such a strike may occur ‘entirely hypothetical’ and ‘unlikely to occur.’”
Since his ascension to chief counterterrorism adviser to President Obama in 2009, Brennan’s pro-Islamic sympathies have been increasingly evident.
WND reported in early February that according to former FBI agent and Islam expert John Guandolo, “Mr. Brennan did convert to Islam when he served in an official capacity on behalf of the United States in Saudi Arabia.”
And during a speech delivered on August 9, 2009, at the Center for Strategic Studies, Brennan deflected the idea that jihad should be used to describe terrorists or terrorism. Rather, he said that jihad means “to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal.”
WND contributor Pam Geller released a video in which Brennan, speaking in fluent Arabic, affectionately recalls his travels to the middle East, and referred to Israel as “Palestine” and where he used the phrase “Inshallah.” the Islamic phrase in Arabic for “God willing.”
WND columnist Diana West has expanded on Brennan’s sympathies with Islamist groups, citing “Brennan’s interactions with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Despite evidence presented (and later upheld) in federal court during the landmark 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial, which established ISNA as a Muslim Brotherhood organization and financial supporter of the terrorist organization Hamas (a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood), Brennan has continued to meet with ISNA officials and participate in ISNA events.”
In addition to Paul, Cruz and Lee, other senators participating in the drone debate today have included Sen. Marco Rubio, R.-Fla., John Thune, R.-S.D. and Ron Wyden, D.-Ore.
More to come …