Rand Paul

Rand Paul Clarifies His Position on Drones After Making Waves With Fox Business Appearance


Drudge Report

Earlier today Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made a remark about drones on Fox Business News that suggested his position had changed. "If there is a killer on the loose in a neighborhood, I'm not against drones being used to search them," 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."

More than a few people interpreted Paul's statement to mean that he had revised his position on the domestic use of drones. RAND LEARNS TO LOVE THE DRONE! is/was the treatment at the top of Drudge, which linked to a Foreign Policy post titled, "Ron Paul fans furious over Rand Paul's drone flip-flop." While some folks came to Paul's defense, such as Jordan Bloom at The American Conservative, it would appear that the Drudge headline touched a nerve. At 9:50 p.m. tonight, Paul's office released the following statement: 

"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.

"Fighting terrorism and capturing terrorists must be done while preserving our constitutional protections. This was demonstrated last week in Boston. As we all seek to prevent future tragedies, we must continue to bear this in mind."

Watch Paul's FBN appearance below: 

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  1. So he’s saying his liquor store example not an apt drone situation?

    1. I’m not sure he entirely knows what he’s saying – we know what he’s against but not what he’s for. A liquor store hold-up is not the same as an “imminent attack” by Al Qaeda or foreign operatives

      1. I think he’s making a distinction between “armed” drones versus “surveillance” drones, the latter being little different than public cameras currently in use. And he’s making it clear that the latter must not be used to watch people in the privacy of their own dwellings and property.

    2. No, he’s saying the liquor store example is a case where it is okay to use violence to end an ongoing public threat. In this case he doesn’t care who or what shoots the criminal.

      I think it comes down to whether there is an ongoing immediate threat. And I agree with him on this. If there’s a standoff going on with armed criminals, I want police to end the standoff in a way that most limits the threat to both officers and the public. A drone (either air or ground, which police already use in standoffs) would be perfect for that.

      1. A drone with what sort of weaponry? Most armed drones these days are armed with some sort of guided bomb or missile. I don’t think that’s going to limit danger to the bystanders.

      2. But the contradiction is that just a few months ago he took exception with the White House saying the exact same thing, that they would only use them in instances of imminent threat to the nation’s security. Rand’s specific complaint was that the White House would do this without a warrant. And yet he’s okay with the police using a drone in a domestic crime with no warrant?

        I agree with him they shouldn’t be used for surveillance, but his comments about using them in case of an ‘imminent threat’ is a direct and obvious contradiction that no with with an ounce of honesty can deny.

      3. Except what Rand doesn’t realize, which I always thought that he did, is that once the police are given the tools to use in this “justified” scenario, they most certainly will overstep the boundaries and utilize in non-justified scenarios. It’s like the NDAA. While Obama may not detain American citizens without a trial violating their due process rights, who’s to say that another administration will not use such tool to do wrong against the citizens?

  2. If he’s President he’s going to use drones to kill people. Yep, we got lots of enemies.

    1. but only if you do bad. so don’t do bad.

    2. What’s the problem with that? Police already use ground drones in standoff situations. If there is an ongoing threat to the public what does it matter whether someone gets shot by a police officer holding a gun, or a police officer remotely controlling a gun.

      Paul is still against using drones for warrant-less surveillance or for killing people when no immediate threat is demonstrated.

      A drone, like a gun, is just a tool.

      1. Yeah, I’m not against drones. I wasn’t being sarcastic.

  3. Call me an optimist, but drones will be a huge boon to humanity in the not-so-distant future. Companies will use drones to deliver groceries purchased online, they’ll delivering hotter pizzas faster to ever-more-distant rural customers who don’t have food delivery options right now, and you’ll be able to use private programmable drones or drone services to send packages of homemade cookies to your friends and family in hours rather than days. In law enforcement, they can ensure the safety of police and suspect by arming the drone only with less-than-lethal force (actual less than lethal force for a change). Fewer dead cops, fewer dead suspects.

    Call me crazy, but having better tools and better technology is a good thing.

    1. I’m with you. I think Rand Paul knows this too.

      1. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

    2. Or just call me a crazy optimist.


      1. Drugs aside, drones could punch a million little holes in the protectionist bullshit so prevalent in Canada. Fuck supply management with a drone.

        1. Yup. I’m a technophile who enjoys daydreaming uses that my grandkids will have for stuff like drones and digital printing, but I know that I can’t even scratch the surface of what the innovative minds of the future will create and use to circumvent all of the speed bumps that public regulation has & will put in their way. And the cheaper energy becomes in the future, the sky’s the limit on what this technology will mean for us.

    4. The drones will be making sure we take our gubment diet and not growing edible plants…but we will cheer as the drone delivers our 25gram victory ration of chocolate
      Full speed ahead Comrade

  4. It’s good that he clarified (it was ridiculous to say that he had “flip-flopped” to begin with) but he needs to start thinking out what he’s gonna say before he says it.

    1. He’s newish to this ‘center of attention and tip of the spear of liberty’ thing but yeah.

      1. I know. And there’s such a thing as too much publicity – ends up creating a lot of opportunities to muck up

        1. Especially since he has two targets on his back. The only people who hate him more than the Democrats is the GOP old guard.

  5. Is Rand a flip flopper or just not consistently careful with his choice of words? Is he a neocon/want-to-be libertarian or is he a libertarian?

    FUCK MAN!!! Stop making us guess like this and just be consistent like your dad. It’s not that difficult.

    Maybe he just possesses an identity crisis. IDK.

    1. Yup, Ron Paul never had these problems. Of course, he had other problems, but not these

    2. I’d rather he wait until he’s president to start being consistent (excepting his voting record, natch).

      1. Kind of a trap isn’t it? If he comes out as a full up libertarian, he risks losing the election. If he doesn’t, he is somewhat unprincipled.

        This is why his father’s plan of educating the populace to the benefits of libertarianism is the way to go. The optimum situation is to have enough libertarians voting that you don’t have to sacrifice your principles to get elected.

        1. Sure, I agree with all of that, but I don’t think it’s mutually exclusive; we can have Paul being an Overton-window libertarian even while he draws attention to the strong libertarian authors of the past.

          If we want libertopia, it’ll help to have all kinds of people stirring the pot and encouraging constant debate. Rand isn’t perfect, but the more he name-drops Bastiat and Mises on the big stage, the more likely we are to be able to engage in semi-thoughtful debate with our neighbors and friends and start dragging people toward the idea that contracting the state is a good thing.

          So basically my thought is that publicity is always a good thing, even if the guy bringing it to us is ideologically less than pure.

        2. I agree. I don’t see how we can break the two-party system, but if enough people start voting “libertarian” we might be able to break both traditional parties and forge a new set, this time oriented on the liberty axis.

  6. “Fighting terrorism and capturing terrorists must be done while preserving our constitutional protections. This was demonstrated last week in Boston. As we all seek to prevent future tragedies, we must continue to bear this in mind.””

    You haven’t paid close attention to all the goings on in Boston, Senator

    1. I meant to email Paul’s office the link to that Youtube video of police dragging people out of their houses at gunpoint and scoping the window of the guy who was filming them.

      I know that politically, he can’t afford to start slamming BPD right now (can you imagine the shitstorm that would bring to the GOP? It would be a gift-wrapped present to lefty mediots), and I’m 99% sure that someone who grew up listening to his dad lecture him about Rothbard and Mises wouldn’t sign off on it, but it would be a relief to discover that he’s as pissed about that as the average Reasonoid.

  7. What if the owner of the liquor store owned a drone. Can you use an armed drone to enforce your castle doctrine rights?

    1. I’d be more interested in him using his drone to deliver free-market booze right to my doorstep.

      I think that issue would be taken care of by the manufacturer; most of them would be pressured by market forces into making less-than-lethal home protection the primary drones sold, kind of like how some thought-experiment ancap market today wouldn’t support private security chopping off a thief’s hand as proportionate punishment.

      Humanity just keeps getting softer on crime the longer we hang around…

  8. I’d appreciate it if he did not use the phrase “let me be clear”.

  9. Rand clarified for us that he isn’t consistent.

    1. How so?

  10. Ther eis a dude that clearly knows what time it is. WOw.


  11. He didn’t clarify his comments, he contradicted his comments.

    The Rand Paul tightrope act continues. It’s tough to be a Republican and an anti-Republican at the same time. Gosh, I wonder which side he’ll end up on.

    1. Well he’s gotta be a toe-the-line Republican (at least in his comments) for a few more years. Once he clinches the nomination, he can start wading away from the platform.

  12. “Fighting terrorism and capturing terrorists must be done while preserving our constitutional protections. This was demonstrated last week in Boston. As we all seek to prevent future tragedies, we must continue to bear this in mind.”

    How exactly did Boston PD demonstrate terror the maintenance of our constitutional rights while fighting terrorism? As I recall they marched people out of their homes at gun point to search them, and in many cases not even asking for consent.

  13. I don’t see the contradiction. Rand’s fillbuster focused on the constitutional question of whether the government can kill a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil without due process when the target did not pose an imminent threat. Drones happened to be the means discussed, but the constitutional principles he defended would have prohibited killing the target by other means. Similarly, if a liquor store robber poses an imminent threat sufficient to justify the use of lethal force, then it is irrelevant (aside from the potential for collateral damage) whether he is killed by a drone or a policeman. The media is trying to manufacture a game of gotcha by painting Rand as being anti-drone when the real issue he was trying to highlight was the limits on the government’s authority to use lethal force.

  14. The only thing Rand has clarified is that he believes it is ok to give police weapons of war and that they will act within the confines of some sort of rules, and that said weapons will never, or rarely, be used to oppress the citizens of this country as long as we set some arbitrary rules, which are subject to change.

  15. Congress doesn’t care about civil liberties. Even the one guy that supposedly does thinks its ago to send a drone after a liquor store robbery suspect.

    1. I mean okay, not ago

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