Sen. Paul spoke about many things during his 12 hr., 54 min. Senate filibuster that delayed the confirmation of Pres. Obama's choice for CIA Director John Brennan.
His main thesis was to demand a response from the Obama Administration to clearly state its policy on using lethal force within the United States to target Americans with drone strikes.
The next day, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder responded, saying simply that "no," the president cannot use weaponized drones to take out non-combatant US citizens.
The statement is inline with the letter Holder wrote to Paul on Tuesday, where he left the door open for using lethal force against an American citizen engaged in a violent attack against the country, such as in another 9-11:
It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.
Part of Paul's concern was that, without clarity, the executive branch could authorize assassinations for US citizens using the same procedures utilized overseas, including the targeting of individuals for "sympathizing" with the enemy.
"We've had people in our country who have been against the Afghan War, against the Iraq War. I was opposed to the Iraq War. There have been people who're against the government on occasion. What are the criteria for who will be killed?
"And people say, 'well, the president would never kill non-combatants.' The problem is that's who we're killing overseas... Are we gonna take that same kind of standard and use it in America?"
Yesterday's statement satisfied Rand Paul, but with the United States still declared an official "battle zone" by the federal government, the question remains whether the tactics used in oversea war zones could still apply in America.
Furthermore, what constitutes as "combat on American soil?" For instance, would arson aimed at protesting the government justify the use of lethal drone strikes? How about the organization of militias with sentiments that are anti-government? Would preemptive strikes ever be warranted?
In his filibuster, Rand pointed out the Department of Homeland Security's leaked memo that listed US citizens with certain political beliefs as potential terrorists that police should be vigilant of, including those who vote for third parties.
A report published earlier this year by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center argued that those who subscribe to "far-right" politics may be more likely to commit violent terrorist attacks.
However, it isn't only those on the right that have been labeled as dangerous; left-wing anarchists such as the Northwest Grand Jury Resisters have been targeted and persecuted for having political beliefs the government finds subversive.
It was in this context Paul posited the question: "Could political dissent be part of the standard for drone strikes?"
Perhaps a crystal-clear, extensive outline of the policy for when, where, why, how and by whom a lethal drone strike can be used against an American on US soil is warranted.