Rand Paul flip-flops to defend Obama’s drone strikes: 'There is a valuable use for drones'
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) on Fox & Friends - screencap

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R), who memorably filibustered in the Senate for 13 hours to rail against the use of drones on U.S. citizens, defended a January drone strike that accidentally took the lives of two hostages, one of them American.


Appearing on Fox & Friends, the potential 2016 GOP presidential nominee explained that, while he is still against using drones to gather human intelligence, "There is a valuable use for drones."

"I do think there is a valuable use for drones," he explained. "As much as I'm seen as an opponent of drones, I think in military and warfare they do have some value. "

Addressing the January incident in which American Dr. Warren Weinstein was killed while being held hostage by al Qaeda in a camp along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Paul called it a "difficult situation" for the president.

"You have hostages being held, some of them American," he said. "You also have the people holding the hostages, some of them American. I’ve been an opponent of using drones about people not involved in combat. However, if you’re holding hostages you kind of are involved in combat.”

"So I look at it the way it is the United States," he continued. "If there's a kidnapping in New York, the police don't have to have a warrant to go in. You see what I mean? You really don't get due process when you're in a war zone. These people are in a war zone and probably got what was coming to them."

Paul's comments stand in direct conflict with his words during his filibuster when he attacked the Obama administration over its refusal to positively rule out the use of drones against Americans in the U.S. or abroad and to disclose drone usage.

His comments during the filibuster -- where he was joined by Sen. Ron Wyden (D) -- drew approving nods from civil libertarians, including Real Time host Bill Maher and journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Following Paul's comments this morning, Greenwald tweeted: "Was just reading that [Rand's comments]. Seems like wishy-washy bullshit, though I'd like to see full comments."

In response to a query from journalist Dave Weigel, he added: " I don't get his strategy: he's never going to attract GOP hawks, so why dilute what makes him interesting/unique?"

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