Brennan CIA confirmation moving ahead after 13-hour filibuster

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) ate Snickers bars to keep himself going through the marathon filibuster.
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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) ended his day-long filibuster at 12:38 am, almost 13 hours after he began speaking.

The Kentucky Republican and Tea Party favorite stalled a confirmation vote on CIA Director nominee John Brennan.

Paul, known for his Libertarian leanings, has sharply questioned the Obama administration's use of drones against American citizens overseas. He vowed to speak until he received more answers from the government about its policies. Brennan, President Barack Obama's pick to lead the spy agency, is considered one of the main architects of the drone program.

Paul kept a sense of humor about his marathon talk-fest.

"I would go for another 12 hours to try to break Strom Thurmond's record, but I've discovered that there are some limits to filibustering, and I'm going to have to go take care of one of those in a few minutes here," said Paul. GOP colleagues who were listening to Paul's closing statement applauded as he yielded the floor.

Paul, a critic of Obama's unmanned drone policy, started just before noon Wednesday by demanding the president or Attorney General Eric Holder issue a statement assuring the unmanned aircraft would not be used in the United States to kill terrorism suspects who are U.S. citizens.

The Obama administration has said the federal government has not conducted such operations inside U.S. borders and has no intention of doing so.

Former Sen. Thurmond of South Carolina holds the record. He famously filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

After Paul finished, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the number two Democrat in the Senate, entered motions to clear the way for the confirmation to move ahead.

The Senate Intelligence Committee overwhelmingly approved Brennan, clearing the way for the full Senate to confirm him as early as Thursday.

The committee's chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, called for swift action on the nomination. If it's approved, Brennan would replace Michael Morell, the CIA's deputy director. Morell has been acting director since David Petraeus resigned in November after acknowledging an affair with his biographer.

The Republican vice chairman of the committee, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, voted against the nomination but said he would not encourage his GOP colleagues to try to hold up Brennan's installation at the CIA.