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Sen. Rand Paul threatens to block nominee, again, over drones

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul is threatening to block James Comey's nomination to lead the FBI if he does not get answers on the use of drones within the U.S. borders, just four months after his 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's pick to lead the CIA.

In a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, the Kentucky Republican signaled this week that he would rally opposition to Mr. Comey "without adequate answers to my questions."

"Legitimate questions on important government functions should not be ignored," Mr. Paul wrote.

Mr. Paul's concerns are rooted in testimony Mr. Mueller provided to Congress in June.

Mr. Mueller confirmed that the FBI uses drone aircraft in the United States, prompting Mr. Paul to seek follow-up information the drones' purpose and rules governing their use.

"Given that drone surveillance over American skies represents a potentially vast expansion of government surveillance powers without the constitutionally-guaranteed protection of a warrant, it is vital that the use of these drones by the FBI be fully examined in an open and transparent manner," Mr. Paul wrote in his letter on Tuesday.

"The American people have a right to know the limits that the federal government operates under when using these drones, and whether further action by Congress is needed to protect the rights of innocent Americans," he wrote.

The senator said he is frustrated that Mr. Mueller failed to respond by July 1, the deadline Mr. Paul imposed.

On March 6, Mr. Paul made headlines by opposing CIA nominee John Brennan on the Senate floor in remarks and colloquy with fellow Republicans that started before noon and stretched well into the night.

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