Courtesy of Fox Business NewsKentucky Senator Rand Paul faced a firestorm of criticism from across the political spectrum Tuesday over his apparent reversal on domestic drone strikes.
The controversy centered around an interview Paul gave with Fox Business Network late Monday night, in which he said he would be fine with the police using drones to kill garden-variety criminals.
“Here’s the distinction: I have never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an act of crime going on,” Paul said. “If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”
“But it’s different if they want to come fly over your hot tub or your yard just because they want to do surveillance on everyone, and they want to watch your activities.”
The remarks are a major departure from Paul’s 13-hour anti-drone filibuster, undercutting the pro-civil liberties position upon which the Kentucky Republican has launched his national political star.
“I will not sit quietly and let [the president] shed the constitution.” Paul said on the Senate floor last month. “No American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.”
To be fair, Paul has always granted an exception for “imminent threats.” But Monday’s example of a run-of-the-mill liquor store robbery is disconcerting, given that Paul’s hypothetical drone killing would occur after the crime had been committed and not when innocent people are in danger.
Paul’s apparent reversal sparked fierce criticism among both liberals and conservatives, most notably the Drudge Report, which lead with this banner headline Tuesday night:
Drudge ReportAnd perhaps predictably, Paul’s apparent reversal has caused a revolt among supporters of Paul’s father, Ron Paul, whose rabid libertarian following has long been sceptical of the younger Paul.
“I am stunned by Rand’s statement. Unmanned killers in our skys O.K.??? Really?” one user posted on the Daily Paul forum. “The guy is simultaneously capable of great good and evil it seems. Scares me. What are our alternatives? I don’t know but, I am looking.”
(h/t Foreign Policy)
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