Republican presidential contenders are sharply divided over the NSA’s controversial bulk data collection program authorised by the Patriot Act, which is currently under review in the Senate.
with an extended monologue explaning the reasons for his opposition.
“I will not let the Patriot Act, the most unpatriotic of acts, go unchallenged,” he said in his comments on the Senate floor.
And he slammed President Obama for not ending the NSA program through executive order: “He has every power to stop it and yet the president does nothing,”
Paul also used the opportunity to reach out for donations.
“I will not rest. I will not back down. I will not yield one inch in this fight so long as my legs can stand,” he vowed in an email soliciting campaign cash. “I’m not going to back down. Here I stand, so help me.”
One of Paul’s expected competitors for the nomination, frontrunner Jeb Bush, took the opposite stance. The former Florida governor expressed his support for the NSA program included in the Patriot Act, which was signed into law in 2001 by his older brother, former President George W. Bush.
Bush even praised President Barack Obama for maintaining the NSA’s data collection program.
“I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using, you know, the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced,” Bush said in April on “The Michael Medved Show.”
Another competitor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), praised a federal decision in May that ruled the NSA program illegal and has called for an end to the “NSA’s unfettered data collection program.”
But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), another Senate Republican running for president, voiced his support for the collection program in an May 10 USA Today op-ed.
“[N]ow is not the time to end this program, which remains essential to our security,” he stressed.
And likely presidential contender New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said the data collection program is essential to fight terrorism.
“Let’s be clear, all these fears are exaggerated and ridiculous,” he said in New Hampshire on Monday while addressing privacy concerns over government surveillance.
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