POLITICS
04/24/2013 09:48 am ET Updated Apr 24, 2013

Rand Paul Clarifies Drone Position After Outcry

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) walked back comments Tuesday in which he endorsed the hypothetical killing of an armed robber by a drone, a day after he took the controversial stance.

"My comments last night left the mistaken impression that my position on drones had changed," he said in a statement Tuesday. "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."

Speaking on Fox Business late Monday, Paul seemed to contradict his opposition to drone strikes on American citizens. "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," he 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."

Paul's comments also drew fire from supporters of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), as many of these supporters back the younger Paul as well. The conservative-leaning Drudge Report splashed "Rand Paul Learns To Love the Drone!"

Paul launched a 13-hour filibuster in March after Attorney General Eric Holder refused to rule out a lethal strike on an American citizen. "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," Paul said on the Senate floor. Holder clarified the next day that the president did not have the authority to launch a "a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat" in the U.S.

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