A U.S. Supreme Court review of the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance programs and the secret court that approves them is essential to restoring America's reputation as a free society, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says.
"You can't really have a secret court that doesn't have an adversarial process. [The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court is secret and there's nobody arguing the other side," Paul told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
“When we have constitutional questions, we have attorneys represent both sides. … [The] FISA court can't do that and even the FISA court themselves have admitted that they have no ability really to police the NSA, so we can't rely on this court to do it.
"It needs to be done and in a free society. It should be done out in the open. … We really should be able to debate that in the open — how we do it and how much Americans get caught up in this."
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Paul, a potential 2016 GOP nominee for president, said the government has become distracted over the actual tracking and trapping of terrorists by the sheer amount of information it collects.
He used the case of the Tsarnaev brothers, who set off the Boston Marathon bombs that killed three and wounded more than 260, as an example.
"Let's say the Russian government gives you a tip that this boy named Tsarnaev is a potential terrorist. You interview him, you don't have enough evidence, but for goodness sake, wouldn't we put some effort into following his activities when he leaves the country?" he said.
"He's supposedly on a target list, but they're so overwhelmed with data that his name was spelled differently in the interpretation to the computer program and so they missed the fact that he went to Chechnya. We get overwhelmed in it because we want to have everybody's data all the time."
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