New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) continues to trade barbs with Republican Senators over the National Security Agency’s data collection program.
Christie, who is among the presumed 2016 presidential contenders who support the Patriot Act, accused Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), for their 0pposition to the legislation that authorizes the controversial NSA surveillance programs.
Christie took on Lee and Paul, who launched his 2016 campaign last month, for defending NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
“He’s a criminal, he’s a criminal and he’s hiding in Russia, and he’s lecturing to us about the evils of authoritarian government, while he lives under the protective umbrella of Vladimir Putin,” Christie said of Snowden in a Fox News appearance on Wednesday.
“That’s who Mike Lee and Rand Paul are siding with — with Edward Snowden? Come on,” he added.
Christie’s comments came in response to Lee, who told CNN on May 22 that the Garden State governor “should be ashamed of himself” for suggesting Americans have to choose between privacy protections guaranteed in the 4th Amendment and death.
Lee was referring to Christie’s comment at a May 18 Town Hall meeting in Hudson, New Hampshire that “you can’t enjoy our civil liberties if you’re in a coffin.”
In his criticism of Christie, Lee added that “if Mr. Christie wants to play a part in the national discussion … he should choose his words more carefully.”
In response to Lee’s advice, Christie said on Wednesday that he didn’t feel the need to choose his words more carefully and added that Lee was “dead wrong” on the issue.
“Nobody else that’s in this national conversation right now has the practical experience that I’ve had,” he said, touting his past years as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey from 2002 to 2008.
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