Senator Thune Joins Rand Paul in Brennan Filibuster
February 12th and 13th, NewsCenter1 aired an exclusive investigative report on the controversy surrounding U.S. drone policy and the threat critics say drone technology poses to Constitutional rights to privacy, and judicial due process. You can watch that documentary, "The Great Drone Debate," by clicking the link below.
Yesterday, U.S. Senator John Thune joined Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul, in a 13-hour filibuster of President Barack Obama's C.I.A. Director nominee, John Brennan, the man known as America's 'Drone Czar.' The filibuster was meant as a protest to raise awareness about what critics see as an existential threat to Constitutional freedoms, and to force the Obama White House to issue a definitive policy position on whether the Executive Branch can legally order the death of an American citizen on U.S. soil, without observing habeas corpus rights of due process, jury trial, and questioning of accusers. During his portion of testimony during the filibuster, Senator Thune demanded the White House respond to three key questions surrounding drone policy and reaffirm a stance that would be in keeping with liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
"Number one: the use of drones to execute or target American citizens on American soil who pose no imminent threat clearly violates the Constitutional due process rights of citizens. Number two. The
American people deserve a clear concise and unequivocal public statement from the President of the United States that includes detailed legal reasoning, including but not limted to the balance of national security and due process limits of executive power and distinction between treatment of citizens and non citizens within and outside the borders of the United States, the use of lethal force against American citizens and the use of drones in the application of lethtal force within United States Territory."
Thune had previously spoken in support of U.S. drone policy, calling the technology a valuable weapon in the war on terrorism overseas. In his participation of the filibuster, Thune clarified his position, striking a clear contrast between using drones on foreign fields of combat, or in enemy territory and deploying the craft domestically in what critics have called a clear violation of Posse Comitatus, a Constitutional proviso preventing the use of American military machinery domestically, against United States citizens.
In an exclusive statement issued only to NewsCenter1, Senator Thune reiterated that stance:
"The Senator from Kentucky sought clarification from the administration about the constitutional authority of the president to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a United States citizen on U.S. soil who does not pose an imminent threat to our security. This is a question of great Constitutional importance and is something that deserved clarification from the White House."
After the filibuster, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm John Brennan as Director of Central Intelligence, but not before the White House issued an official response to requests from both Thune and Rand Paul admitting that the White House does not have legal authority to kill American citizens by drone.