Rand Paul has not flip-flopped on Drones, He’s been consistently wrong

Guillermo Jimenez
Traces of Reality
April 24, 2013




“I have a few words on the controversy surrounding Rand Paul’s comments on the use of drones domestically.  In the wake of the Boston Bombings, the question of using drones to target Americans on American soil and killing them has been raised, and on Fox Business  last Tuesday April 23, Rand Paul had this to say:

“Here’s the distinction — I have never argued against any technology being used against having 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.”

Now, while it may surprise you to hear these comments from Rand, it may surprise you even further to know that this is indeed not a political flip-flop on Rand’s part – In fact, he said nearly the exact same thing during his historic 13 hour filibuster on the Senate Floor on March 6:

If some guy’s robbing a liquor store two blocks from here and the policemen come up and he comes out brandishing a gun, he or she can be shot. They once again don’t get Miranda Rights, they don’t get a trial, they don’t get anything. If you come out brandishing a weapon and people are threatened by it, you can be shot. So it’s important to know what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about the guy coming out of the liquor store with a weapon. Even a drone could kill him if the FBI had drones. So my objection to drones isn’t so much the technology. There may be a use in law – for law enforcement here. But there are also potential, great potential for abuses.

So, for all you hardcore Rand Paul 2016′ers out there – you’re right, Rand Paul has not flipped flopped on the issue of drones. He’s been very consistent. He has said, repeatedly now, the State can and should execute Americans via hellfire missile death from the sky machines – if, they pose an imminent threat – including thieves, having just robbed a store.”

Note: Senator Paul’s office released this statement in response to the “controversy”: “My comments last night left the mistaken impression that my position on drones had changed. Let me be clear: it has not. Armed drones should not be used in normal crime situations. They only may only be considered in extraordinary, lethal situations where there is an ongoing, imminent threat. I described that scenario previously during my Senate filibuster.  Additionally, surveillance drones should only be used with warrants and specific targets.”

The problem with that is, although Paul now says, “Armed drones should not be used in normal crime situations” he has twice now used such an example (the common liquor store thief) in which he argues for the use of armed drones–specifically in the “capable hands” of the FBI.  As James Bovard pointed out in his article on the subject, “The phrase ‘ongoing, imminent threat‘ is still extremely vague.”  I would add that it is not only extremely vague, but it is the exact same language and “legal basis” used by the Obama Administration in carrying out targeted killings. Yet another example of the ongoing saga: Rand Paul’s tight-rope walk to the White House.