(CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder says the president does not have the authority to use a drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil, according to a letter he addressed to Sen. Rand Paul on Thursday.
"It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: 'Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?' The answer to that question is no," the letter states.
At 1:15 p.m. ET, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the letter was sent to Paul "within the last half hour or so."
At 1:45 p.m. ET, however, Paul's office said they had not received the letter.
Bringing attention to his question, Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky, led a nearly 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor Wednesday. He's stalling a confirmation vote for CIA director nominee John Brennan until he feels satisfied with a response from the administration about the issue.
In an exclusive interview with CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash earlier Thursday, Paul said he wanted the president to respond and that he was hearing the White House may give an answer to the question.
"If they do, we're willing to let the Brennan nomination go forward," he said.
Elaborating further, Carney said Thursday that the technology of a drone strike does not change the law.
"The president swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, and he is bound by the law, whether the lethal force in question is a drone strike or a gun shot, the law and the constitution apply in the same way," he said.
Asked by CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta whether the president could use such force to prevent at attack on U.S. soil, Carney said "you can make sort of wild hypotheticals but that doesn't, they don't change the law."
"It is certainly the case that the president, in part of his oath to the Constitution, to uphold the Constitution, is sworn to protect the United States," he said. "And in event like an attack like Pearl Harbor or an attack like 9/11--obviously the president has the constitutional authority to take action to prevent those kinds of attacks, but that has nothing to do with the technology used to prevent those attacks."
Earlier this week, Paul took issue with Holder's recent admission, in which he said he could envision a scenario where a drone strike would, in fact, be ordered against Americans on U.S. Soil.
While Holder said it's never been done before and he could only see it in an extraordinary circumstance, Paul said he was disturbed by the idea that an American citizen would lose his or her rights while within the country's borders.
Holder narrowed the list of those possible extraordinary circumstances Wednesday. In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pressed Holder on whether he believed it would be constitutional to target an American terror suspect "sitting at a cafe" if the suspect didn't pose an imminent threat.
After first saying it would be "inappropriate," Holder attempted to clarify his answer by giving a firm "no."
But he also said the government has no intention of carrying out drone strikes inside the United States. Echoing what he said in a separate letter to Paul sent earlier this week, he called the possibility of domestic drone strikes "entirely hypothetical."
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