Paul: Drones would have been OK in Boston manhunt

posted at 12:41 pm on April 23, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

An important clarification from Senator Rand Paul, who made headlines for a rare talking filibuster challenging Barack Obama to explain the difference between using drones against American citizens overseas and using them in the United States.  Neil Cavuto asked Paul about the distinction yesterday in light of the manhunt for American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Friday, in which a drone or two with real-time infrared downlook capabilities above Watertown might have saved a little time.  Paul told Cavuto that this wasn’t the use to which he objected:

“If there’s a killer on the loose in a neighborhood, I’m not against drones being used to search them out, heat-seeking devices being used, I’m all for law enforcement,” Paul said on Fox Business Network’s Cavuto last night. “I’m just not for surveillance when there’s no probable cause that a crime’s being committed.”

“Here’s the distinction, Neil, I’ve never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, active crime going on,” he added.

Actually, I thought that distinction was pretty clear all along.  The police have used helicopters for decades to track suspects on the run from law enforcement, and haven’t been shy about using the latest surveillance technology in the air or on the ground.  Case law has long allowed that kind of aerial surveillance, especially for open areas outside of houses, even in back yards.  The only difference is in the aerial platform and whether a pilot is along for the ride.

The question Paul wanted answered was not about surveillance but about offensive operations – ie, a targeted strike on an American citizen, such as the one that killed al-Qaeda leader and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki.  If the White House felt free to drop a bomb on Awlaki in Yemen for being a terrorist, would they have given the green light to do so on Tsarnaev if he had just been in the planning stages of another attack? Before one shrugs that off as fantasy, remember that Tsarnaev was considered extremely dangerous and suspected of wearing a suicide vest.  Also consider that it took days for the White House to finally answer the question in the negative. That was the right answer, but the delay certainly doesn’t produce much confidence in the White House’s understanding of Paul’s distinction.


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If the White House felt free to drop a bomb on Awlaki in Yemen for being a terrorist, would they have given the green light to do so on Tsarnaev if he had just been in the planning stages of another attack?

Did we know without a doubt that the person in the boat was Tsarnaev?

Electrongod on April 23, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Is his dad okay with that?

MikeknaJ on April 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM

The police have used helicopters for decades to track suspects on the run from law enforcement, and haven’t been shy about using the latest surveillance technology in the air or on the ground. Case law has long allowed that kind of aerial surveillance, especially for open areas outside of houses, even in back yards. The only difference is in the aerial platform and whether a pilot is along for the ride.

Yeah, but Ed, police helicopters don’t come equipped with Maverick or Hellfire missiles.

BobMbx on April 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Agreed. Using drones, much like police departments use helos isn’t a problem. However, using that drone to bomb an American citizen on American soil via police is a problem.

MoreLiberty on April 23, 2013 at 12:47 PM

OT: judge dismisses almost half of charges against Gosnell

http://www.lifenews.com/2013/04/23/kermit-gosnell-judge-drops-three-abortion-infanticide-charges/

catmman on April 23, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Good grief. How can people not understand this?

blink on April 23, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Understanding requires thinking. Thinking is hard.

Fenris on April 23, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Hey Rand, Tom Brokaw would like a word with you.

ToddPA on April 23, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Why not bloodhounds? Can anyone answer that one simple question for me?

The guy abandoned the stolen vehicle, bleeding, on foot. Bloodhounds would have had him in custody within minutes. Instead, the authorities imposed quasi-martial law on an entire city for half a day.

Why?

I have my theories.

IronDioPriest on April 23, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Yeah, but Ed, police helicopters don’t come equipped with Maverick or Hellfire missiles.

BobMbx on April 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM

So, you’re ok with surveillance by unmanned aerial vehicles that aren’t armed with missiles?

blink on April 23, 2013 at 12:48 PM

An obvious snark fail on my part.

Retry:

Yeah, but Ed, police helicopters don’t come equipped with those really cool Maverick or Hellfire missiles.

/s

BobMbx on April 23, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Actually, it’s not so much about the DRONES, but rather the HELLFIRE MISSILES under their wings.

fred5678 on April 23, 2013 at 12:57 PM

It’s only a clarification for those who hadn’t been paying attention.

Dusty on April 23, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Bloomberg on Boston “the constitution is dead”. He doesn’t mean it the way you do.

I hope that a sane citizen of Mass. sues the gov’t, all the way, to settle what happened. The more I think about Boston the more unsettling it is. All those illegal searches, the lockup…the owner could have found that blood sooner, and all the ineptness make for a terrible movie…’xept it was/is real.

The trial and all the chenanigans to save the creep’s life will be eipc too. PC and the left will destroy the land, much faster than Rome.

Schadenfreude on April 23, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Guy on Mediaite just blatantly lied about Rand Paul’s drone statement for Boston:

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/now-rand-paul-thinks-its-ok-to-kill-u-s-citizens-with-drones-on-american-soil/

MikeknaJ on April 23, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Surveillance is not the same as attack.

None-the-less, even surveillance that involves the private property of individuals requires probable cause and, except in cases of exigent circumstances, a court-issued warrant.

During this incident, the police treated the entire Boston metro are as a possible location of the bomber. They went yard-to-yard, house-to-house, neighborhood-to-neighborhood conducting sweeps for him. That so blatantly violates the Constitution that they should be laughed out of court.

If they had reasonable, probable cause to suspected that an armed and dangerous suspect was located in a specific area, fine. Otherwise, you want to search people’s property, whether with boots on the ground or drones in the air, you go get a search warrant. And don’t even try to say that the entire metro area of Boston was covered by the exigent circumstances exception when we’re talking about a single individual.

Shump on April 23, 2013 at 12:58 PM

The use of a new phrase becoming most popular in the daily lexicon of our political class, “law enforcemnt,” since the Boston terror attack, is another example of how many of our freedoms have been usurped by our lawmakers inside and beyond the Beltawy! This can be viewed all over the internet, with the SWAT Team activities in Boston this past week! Look for more such action across the country in the not distant future!Quick on the trigger and short on the headwork!

tomshup on April 23, 2013 at 12:59 PM

NO DRONES, PERIOD.
NO DRONES, PERIOD.
NO DRONES, PERIOD.
NO DRONES, PERIOD.

Meanwhile at the GAYS/GUNS/AMNESTY media jihad:

Even the Left freely admits this…..yet the gop still supports it?

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/immigration-reform-could-upend-electoral-college-90478.html

Immigration reform could be bonanza for Democrats

The immigration proposal pending in Congress would transform the nation’s political landscape for a generation or more — pumping as many as 11 million new Hispanic voters into the electorate a decade from now in ways that, if current trends hold, would produce an electoral bonanza for Democrats and cripple Republican prospects in many states they now win easily.

Beneath the philosophical debates about amnesty and border security, there are brass-tacks partisan calculations driving the thinking of lawmakers in both parties over comprehensive immigration reform, which in its current form offers a pathway to citizenship — and full voting rights — for a group of undocumented residents that roughly equals the population of Ohio, the nation’s seventh-largest state.

If these people had been on the voting rolls in 2012 and voted along the same lines as other Hispanic voters did last fall, President Barack Obama’s relatively narrow victory last fall would have been considerably wider, a POLITICO analysis showed.

Key swing states that Obama fought tooth and nail to win — like Florida, Colorado and Nevada — would have been comfortably in his column. And the president would have come very close to winning Arizona.

Republican Mitt Romney, by contrast, would have lost the national popular vote by 7 percentage points, 53 percent to 46 percent, instead of the 4-point margin he lost by in 2012, and would have struggled even to stay competitive in GOP strongholds like Texas, which he won with 57 percent of the vote.

The analysis is based on U.S. Census and Pew Research Center estimates of illegal immigrant populations by state, and presidential exit polls showing how Obama and Romney performed among Latinos.

To support the measure virtually guarantees millions of new Democratic voters. But for Republicans to oppose immigration reform invites hostility among Hispanic-Americans who already are punishing the GOP and imperiling its electoral prospects.

This reality, say many Republican strategists, gives the party no long-term alternative but to welcome the new voters and hope this allows the party to compete for Hispanic voters in ways that are closer to how President George W. Bush performed in 2004. National exit polls that year showed he won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. Some analysts have questioned this data, but there is little doubt that Bush performed significantly better with this group than Romney, who got just 27 percent.

If Republicans do nothing to repair their relationships with current and future Latino voters, “we certainly won’t be a national political party anymore,” said GOP strategist Steve Schmidt, a top adviser to John McCain in 2008.

So it would allow the Democrat to focus his spending on states that might be close………..but, but, but, THIS ASSUMES there are ONLY 11 MILLION, and what happens when those 11 million, reproduce and produce 20 million, 30 million, 40 million, all raised on government handouts.

PappyD61 on April 23, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Actually, it’s not so much about the DRONES, but rather the HELLFIRE MISSILES under their wings.

[fred5678 on April 23, 2013 at 12:57 PM]

It’s only been about hellfire missiles unless you can kill people with infrared cameras.

I swear, some in the media can be awfully dense when it comes to the reason for Rand Paul’s filibuster. It almost like it’s willful blindness.

Dusty on April 23, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Using drones does not necessary imply “armed” drones. Just ones with sensors as payload. In fact, most are unarmed.

jake49 on April 23, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Why not bloodhounds? Can anyone answer that one simple question for me?

The guy abandoned the stolen vehicle, bleeding, on foot. Bloodhounds would have had him in custody within minutes. Instead, the authorities imposed quasi-martial law on an entire city for half a day.

Why?

I have my theories.

IronDioPriest on April 23, 2013 at 12:54 PM

I asked the same question about 4 hours into the martial law crackdown practice exercise, and the answer is they did bring in the dogs, but they were unable to pick out the scent of a bleeding, scared (meaning adrenaline-oozing), sweaty person from among the hydrangea bushes.

Right.

BobMbx on April 23, 2013 at 1:06 PM

even surveillance that involves the private property of individuals requires probable cause and, except in cases of exigent circumstances, a court-issued warrant.

Shump on April 23, 2013 at 12:58 PM

You’d be hard pressed to prove an expectation of privacy or need of a warrant to have drone surveillance over your property. Now if the drone were to hover and focus in on your bathroom window, that’s another thing entirely.

Happy Nomad on April 23, 2013 at 1:10 PM

I swear, some in the media can be awfully dense when it comes to the reason for Rand Paul’s filibuster. It almost like it’s willful blindness.

Hmmm….ALMOST, you say? Nah….the LSM wouldn’t be willfully blind.

Our current media is woefully dense. Willfully deceitful as well, all too often.

hawkeye54 on April 23, 2013 at 1:11 PM

John Connor has told me its ok to fight Robots.

Dino V on April 23, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Cripes. He talked for the better part of 13 hours on this subject and it still needs clarifying!??

What is wrong with some people?

Can the U.S. government target a US Citizen on US soil that may or may not be a terrorist, that is neither in the act of, or or having just committed, or not posing an imminent threat of a terrorist attack;

By using drones equipped with Hellfire Missiles? NO
By dropping a grand piano on their head from 30,000FT? NO
By any other lethal method? NO

can_con on April 23, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Why not bloodhounds? Can anyone answer that one simple question for me?

The guy abandoned the stolen vehicle, bleeding, on foot. Bloodhounds would have had him in custody within minutes. Instead, the authorities imposed quasi-martial law on an entire city for half a day.

Why?

I have my theories.

IronDioPriest on April 23, 2013 at 12:54 PM

they had a K-9 unit out that night, I remember a ditzy CNN reporter lamenting: ‘I don’t know what’s going on but they brought a lot of canine dogs for this operation’ :) As for bloodhounds, they are used often by law enforcement for search & rescue operations, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were bloodhounds among the ‘canine dogs’ throughout that operation, that evening. besides why wouldn’t they use them. if I am not mistaken the bloodhounds are the only dogs that can ‘testify’ in court.

jimver on April 23, 2013 at 1:20 PM

America has Enemy Combatants.

They are called THE MEDIA.

ToddPA on April 23, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Correction to my post above: bloodhounds are not part of K-9 units, a colleague just told me that.

jimver on April 23, 2013 at 1:21 PM

I doubt this lad was having a ‘cafe experience’ in that boat. I’m really liking Rand Paul more and more as of this year. His previous ‘toilet’ comments were funny (I understood and supported his point), but as of lately, he’s become someone to take very seriously. I think that his father, Ron’s, kooky remarks and beliefs were holding Rand back. Now, how far does the kooky apple fall from the tree? It remains to be seen.

Cruz/Paul 2016

justjulie20 on April 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Our current media is woefully dense. Willfully deceitful as well, all too often.

hawkeye54 on April 23, 2013 at 1:11 PM

You don’t have a lot of latitude when you have to start with the idea that the rat-eared coward is super wonderful. The media changes the truth all the time to fit the narrative that Obama is three kinds of awesome.

I heard a report today about the Baucus retirement announcement that mentioned that the Senator had voted against “the President’s” proposed expansion of background checks. I could have sworn that was Schumer/Manchin/Kirk/Toomey’s efforts with the rat-eared coward giving a thumbs up at the last minute because he thought his endorsement would be enough to get it through the Senate. And that was why he was so angry when Toomey/Manchin failed. The Senate voted down something with his endorsement.

Happy Nomad on April 23, 2013 at 1:41 PM

America has Enemy Combatants.

They are called THE MEDIA.

ToddPA on April 23, 2013 at 1:20 PM

That’s a bit harsh. The media isn’t the enemy. Co-conspirators definitely but to be the media they would have to actually do something other than read the talking points of the real enemy.

Happy Nomad on April 23, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Paul: “I’m just not for surveillance when there’s no probable cause that a crime’s being committed.”

A CRIME is always being committed.

On top of ubiquitous surveillance cameras everywhere, Sen Paul and Ed Morrissey apparently think it is ok to have surveillance drones over citizens.

Sir Napsalot on April 23, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Splatting a terrorist while the blood is still being washed off the sidewalk from the bombs he set off? That is just fine as frog’s hair with me.

Constant surveillance of American citizens with them? Not so much.

MelonCollie on April 23, 2013 at 2:15 PM

I asked the same question about 4 hours into the martial law crackdown practice exercise, and the answer is they did bring in the dogs, but they were unable to pick out the scent of a bleeding, scared (meaning adrenaline-oozing), sweaty person from among the hydrangea bushes.

Right.

BobMbx on April 23, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Ayeah, either the most incompetent cops ever or they had other motives. That doesn’t even begin to pass the smell test, pun not intended.

MelonCollie on April 23, 2013 at 2:16 PM

BobMbx on April 23, 2013 at 1:06 PM

MelonCollie on April 23, 2013 at 2:16 PM

another case of internet sudden expertism!! news reports said there had been too many people in the area for them to be able to pick up that one scent. maybe you want to blame the dog’s for being incompetent now?

chasdal on April 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Illegals doing the job Americans won’t do……..

……would finding workers been a problem if we hadn’t killed off 55 million of them the last forty years in the womb??

Could someone ask the powers that be like Rand Paul or Schumer??

PappyD61 on April 23, 2013 at 2:39 PM

another case of internet sudden expertism!! news reports said there had been too many people in the area for them to be able to pick up that one scent. maybe you want to blame the dog’s for being incompetent now?

chasdal on April 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Who do we blame for you being born with an IQ of 50?

MelonCollie on April 23, 2013 at 2:39 PM

PappyD61 on April 23, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Wrong thread, methinks.

MelonCollie on April 23, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Yeah, but Ed, police helicopters don’t come equipped with Maverick or Hellfire missiles.

BobMbx on April 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Well I thought the Philly police did a pretty good job of improvisation when fire bombing MOVE headquarters. Warmed my cold heart.

arnold ziffel on April 23, 2013 at 2:42 PM

another case of internet sudden expertism!! news reports said there had been too many people in the area for them to be able to pick up that one scent. maybe you want to blame the dog’s for being incompetent now?

chasdal on April 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM

I’m not blaming the dog at all.

As far as the news reports go, I’ve seen thousands of reports that said I could keep my healthcare plan if I liked it.

BobMbx on April 23, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Which reminds me, I saw helicopter thermal-imaging video of Tsarnaev hiding in the boat on Fox News. There was a crosshair of a kind on Tsarnaev; the camera shook as if jarred, debris of some kind splashed up from the boat and he moved slightly. It appeared to me that they shot him from a helicopter while he was hiding in the boat.

I’m not saying I disapprove, that’s just what it looked like and I haven’t seen that reported.

slickwillie2001 on April 23, 2013 at 2:53 PM

The way to quickly settle this matter is to ask pols like Paul who don’t mind having theur back room meetings, private fundraisers, and office meetings recorded in the same fashion we peons are constantly recorded by dash cams, traffic cams, and cameras on every corner in major cities.

If he or any other pol say no, then why should we peons tolerate it? Tbose who have no problem with drones in our skies, even under these circumstances, willfully surrender more and more privacy.

madmonkphotog on April 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Wow. The truthers are coming out of the woodwork on this thread.

DethMetalCookieMonst on April 23, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Here is the whole exchange 6:56 in length.

Transcript from Sen Paul’s full response.

PAUL: “Here’s the distinction, Neil. 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 dollars in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him. But it’s different if they want to fly over your hot tub or your yard just because they want to do surveillance on everyone and they want to watch your activities.”

That is quite different than what Ed showed.

Sir Napsalot on April 23, 2013 at 4:41 PM

That sure is a dramatic high tech picture of the dude on a boat. It was lucky the boat owner checked his tarp and called the authorities, otherwise the high tech stuff wouldn’t have dazzled us with its wizardry.

BL@KBIRD on April 23, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Might want to see what Rand was saying about droning al awaki in yemen. He was against it and wanted to allow him to continue to make war on tje us from yemen.

jp on April 23, 2013 at 5:07 PM

I like Rand Paul. Always have..didn’t agree with his Dad on a lot of stuff…but he should never have made this remark…does he not remember his filibuster?

NO DRONES…period. I actually don’t approve of drones in the first place. Get the hell out of the middle east…had we never meddled…one wonders ….

Redford on April 23, 2013 at 7:10 PM

MeanWhile……………………………..

Rand Paul Is Getting Hammered For Flip Flopping On Drones
Grace Wyler | 7 minutes ago
********************************

Kentucky 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:

rand paul drudge

Drudge Report

And 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 skeptical 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)

http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/04/23/ron_paul_fans_furious_over_rand_pauls_drone_flip_flop
===========================================================

http://www.businessinsider.com/rand-paul-drones-2013-4

canopfor on April 23, 2013 at 8:52 PM

The police have used helicopters for decades to track suspects on the run from law enforcement, and haven’t been shy about using the latest surveillance technology in the air or on the ground. Case law has long allowed that kind of aerial surveillance, especially for open areas outside of houses, even in back yards. The only difference is in the aerial platform and whether a pilot is along for the ride.

“Drones for surveillance only, no drones for tactical strikes. We promise”. = “Just the tip, baby. I swear, just the tip.”

Saltyron on April 23, 2013 at 9:24 PM

“I’ve never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on,” Paul said. “If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash. I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”

If he really said that, he’s as nuts as his Daddy.

Saltyron on April 23, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Get the hell out of the middle east…had we never meddled…one wonders ….

Redford on April 23, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Time to review The Barbary Wars, circa 1800-1810, when America first had to battle Muslim Terrorism.

Islam has been an expansionistic, imperialistic, totalitarian movement since it erupted in 622 A.D.

They aim to subjugate the entire planet, so “getting the hell out of the Middle East” won’t make any diff.

They’re coming for each and every land.

It’s all Caliphate soil, potentially.

We infidels are just a nuisance factor to be eliminated.

profitsbeard on April 24, 2013 at 1:36 AM

If he really said that, he’s as nuts as his Daddy.

Saltyron on April 23, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Put down the Budweiser, turn off NASCAR, and use your brain for 10 seconds if you have one. Rand is talking about active lethal threats. He is not condoning 24/7 eye-in-the-sky, which we already have via satellite and which is not going away.

MelonCollie on April 25, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Get the hell out of the middle east…had we never meddled…one wonders ….

Redford on April 23, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Any number of earlier civlized empires would have, given our technology, simply rendered the offending areas barren of life via several means and then enjoyed the following peace.

MelonCollie on April 25, 2013 at 4:39 PM