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Image: Rand Paul, Peter King Clash Over NSA Surveillance

Rand Paul, Peter King Clash Over NSA Surveillance

Sunday, 18 Aug 2013 12:40 PM

By Audrey Hudson

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Republicans Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Peter King clashed Sunday over the need for additional oversight of the Obama administration's National Security Agency's spying program and whether the database was abused to spy on Americans.

Paul said the agency should be subjected to Congressional and judicial review, while King accused Paul of providing a "grab bag of misinformation and distortion" about the NSA's surveillance programs.

"I think the constitutionality of these programs needs to be questioned, and there needs to be a Supreme Court decision that looks at whether what they are doing is constitutional or not," Paul, of Kentucky, told "Fox News Sunday."

King of New York, appearing later on the Fox program, challenged Paul on his assertion that the NSA was "looking at billions of phone calls every day."

"Take Rand Paul's own numbers, he said there are billions of phone calls being collected," King said. "It's not really true, but assume he's right for once. Billions of phone calls being collected. You juxtapose that with 2,800 violations that were self-reported by the NSA."

The Washington Post reported Friday that an internal audit from May 2012 that was never made public revealed nearly 3,000 incidents where the secret agency violated Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) orders and other rules to conduct surveillance on Americans or foreign nationals.

"If you have a 99.99 percent batting average, that's better than most media people do, most politicians do," King said. "I have tremendous respect for Gen. [Keith] Alexander and the whole NSA. This whole tone of snooping and spying we use, I think it's horrible. I think it's really a smear and a slander of good, patriotic Americans."

In an unusual show of bipartisanship, former Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a liberal Democrat from Ohio, sided with the conservative Kentuckian on the show, and declared that the NSA "has gone rogue."

"Congress was marginally kept in the dark, FISA kept in the dark, apparently the president isn't aware," Kucinich said.

"It appears that the NSA has gone rogue and we have to insist that they be reined in, in order to protect the privacy of Americans, stop this massive intrusion on emails and phone calls and go back to having a country that works," Kucinich said.

The Washington Post based its findings on the internal audit and other top-secret information, and revealed that the program had intercepted phone calls and emails on Americans for which it was not authorized.

The NSA spying program was revealed after Edward Snowden, a former employee now living in Russia, released documents to The Guardian newspaper exposing the secret operation that collects metadata from phone calls.

Former Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana Democrat, also appearing on Fox, defended the program and said the audit confirms that all of the documented abuses were mistakes.

Bayh conceded that the court should police the program even though he defended the agency's breach of authority as "100 percent inadvertent."

"The fact that the agency is self-reporting and wants to comply should give us some comfort, and there's not a vast conspiracy out there where they are intentionally listening in on our conversations," Bayh said.

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