Paul Angers Libertarians With New Drone Comments

Says he's OK with cops using them in a liquor store robbery

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 23, 2013 7:22 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Rand Paul became a political all-star when he staged a marathon filibuster objecting to the idea of the US killing its own citizens with drones. Today, however, he is taking flak over comments he made to Fox Business suggesting that his anti-drone stance isn't quite as anti-drone as some thought. Foreign Policy, for instance, says dad Ron Paul's libertarian fan base is in "open rebellion" online. Here's the line from the younger Paul that's catching much of the criticism:

  • "I've never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on. 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."

Contrast that with a statement in the filibuster:

  • "I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that 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."
The Huffington Post calls it an "abrupt shift," a sentiment echoed by a disappointed columnist at Forbes. But Jordan Bloom of the American Conservative says that while Paul "wasn't as clear as he should have been," he didn't actually change his position. "It seems like he’s trying to describe a standoff or firefight in which the cops are forced to neutralize a thief robbing a liquor store, but the way he actually describes it sounds far more innocuous," he writes. "The senator has always been open to the idea of drones being used, with a warrant, in the process of a police investigation."

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in this file photo.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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