On “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blasted revelations of NSA snooping as “trolling” through records and hinted at a possible class-action lawsuit against the secretive spying agency.
After Wallace played a clip of President Barack Obama saying the program is striking “the right balance,” Paul was asked how the program — which is currently legal under the PATRIOT Act and Section 702 of the FISA law — would be considered unconstitutional.
“Well they’re looking at a billion phone calls a day, that’s what I read in the press,” Paul responded. “That doesn’t sound to me like a modest invasion of privacy. It sounds like an extraordinary invasion of privacy.”
Paul went on to recall the fourth amendment right of protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, saying the program offered a “general warrant” to “troll through” billions of records as opposed to reasonable targeting of specific individuals.
When challenged on the program’s need to go after terrorist threats, Paul responded by saying he’s all for going after terrorists, but they should “get a warrant, go after a terrorist or a murderer or a rapist. But don’t troll through a billion phone records every day. That is unconstitutional, it invades our privacy.”
“And I’m going to be seeing, if I could challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking all of the Internet providers and all of the phone companies and ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit. If we get 10 million Americans saying we don’t want our phone records looked at, then somebody will wake up and say things will change in Washington.”
“What I do in my private life is my private life,” Paul said. “If you suspect me of a crime, have probable cause. Over the last 30 or 40 years, we’ve said once you give your records to your bank or your Visa company, that they’re no longer private. I disagree vehemently with that.
“So much of your life now is digitalized, that we have to protect it from a snooping government.”
Shortly after Paul’s interview, fellow libertarian lawmaker Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) took to Twitter, apparently in support, tweeting, “I’m working with other Reps on potential lawsuit against FBI and NSA regarding Patriot Act, FISA, 4th Amendment, Speech and Debate. Stay tuned.”
You can watch the full exchange below:
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.