Brennan Nominationby Senator Ted Cruz
Posted on 2013-03-06
CRUZ. Would the Senator from Kentucky yield for a question?
Mr. PAUL. I will not yield the floor, but I will acknowledge a
question to the Chair.
Mr. CRUZ. I wish to ask the Senator's reaction to the testimony Attorney General Eric Holder gave the Senator this morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee. I wish to describe that testimony for the Senate and ask the Senator's reaction to that testimony.
I would begin by saying that Senator after Senator on the Judiciary Committee invoked the leadership of the Senator from Kentucky on the issue of [[Page S1171]] drones and asked Attorney General Holder about the standards for drone strikes in the United States. Indeed, although the Senator does not serve on the Judiciary Committee, it was as if he were serving in absentia, because the Attorney General was forced over and over again to respond.
I would note the Senator's standing here today, like a modern ``Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,'' must surely be making Jimmy Stewart smile. My only regret is there are not 99 of our colleagues here today standing with the Senator in defense of the most fundamental principle in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution; namely, each of us is endowed with certain unalienable rights by our Creator and that first among them is life, the right to life, and the right not to have life arbitrarily extinguished by our government without due process of law.
At the hearing this morning, Attorney General Holder was asked about the letter he sent the Senator in which the Senator asked him whether the U.S. Government could use a drone strike to kill a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil. As the Senator knows, Attorney General Holder responded in writing he could imagine a circumstance where that would be permissible. The two examples he gave were: No. 1, Pearl Harbor; and No. 2, the tragic attacks on this country on September 11, 2001. In the course of the hearing, Attorney General Holder was asked for more specifics. In particular, both of those were military strikes on our country with imminent and, indeed, grievous loss of life that flowed from it. Few, if any, disagree that the U.S. Government may act swiftly to prevent a military attack which would mean immediate loss of life. The question Attorney General Holder was asked three different times was whether the U.S. Government could take a U.S. citizen, who was suspected of being a terrorist, on U.S. soil, who was not engaged in any imminent threat to life or bodily harm, simply sitting at a cafe-- could the U.S. Government use a drone strike to kill that U.S. citizen on U.S. soil.
Three times when asked that direct question, Attorney General Holder responded that in his judgment that was not ``appropriate.'' The first question--and if I may, I wish to ask a series of questions--does it surprise the Senator the Attorney General would speak in vague, amorphous terms of appropriateness and prosecutorial discretion rather than the bright lines of what the Constitution protects, namely, the right of every American to have our life protected by the Constitution? Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I am quite surprised, although I guess I shouldn't be, that we don't get direct responses. It is a pretty direct question. It is the question I have been asking all morning. It is the question I have been asking for a month and a half. I am talking about situations where you have a noncombatant, someone not posing an imminent threat, who they think make may someday pose an imminent threat because that is what we are doing overseas. If that is the standard overseas, I am asking is that going to be the standard here? It amazes me.