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Rand Paul Lifts Hold, Clearing Way for Confirmation Of FBI Director

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., lifted his hold Monday on the nomination of James B. Comey to head the FBI after the agency sent the senator a letter in response to his concerns about domestic surveillance drones.

The Senate then proceeded to approve Comey’s nomination on a 93-1 vote, with Paul the lone objector. Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, both of Oregon, voted present.

“The FBI today responded to my questions on domestic use of surveillance drones by saying that they don’t necessarily need a warrant to deploy this technology. I disagree with this interpretation,” Paul said in a statement before the vote. “However, given the fact that they did respond to my concerns over drone use on U.S. soil, I have decided to release my hold on the pending FBI director nominee.”

The FBI’s letter to Paul indicated that the agency uses unmanned aerial vehicles in “very limited circumstances to conduct surveillance when there is a specific operational need.” The FBI reported that since 2006, only 10 such incidences have occurred and have been used to “support missions related to kidnappings, search and rescue operations, drug interdictions, and fugitive investigations.”

The full letter from the FBI to Paul can be viewed here.

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