Tags: NSA/Surveillance | Rand Paul | rand paul | patriot act | surveillance | liberty

Rand Paul: Patriot Act's End Is 'Huge Victory' for Liberty

Image: Rand Paul: Patriot Act's End Is 'Huge Victory' for Liberty
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By    |   Monday, 01 Jun 2015 11:15 AM

Sen. Rand Paul admitted Monday that he may have "exaggerated" his words Sunday when he accused other senators of hoping for a terror attack they could blame on him, but he still believes that stopping the extension of the Patriot Act is a "huge victory" for the United States.

"I think sometimes in the heat of battle, hyperbole can get the better of anyone," the Kentucky Republican and 2016 presidential candidate told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program, while not explicitly retracting the comment. "The point I was trying to make is that I think people do use fear to try to get us to give up our liberty."

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Arizona Sen. John McCain and others have accused Paul of using his soapbox for the purpose of raising money for his presidential campaign.

"I know what this is about — I think it's very clear – this is, to some degree, a fundraising exercise," said McCain. "He obviously has a higher priority for his fundraising and political ambitions than for the security of the nation."

But Paul on Monday said that part of his fight is that he wants "more collection of records on terrorists — I just want less collection on innocent Americans."

He said he believes that sometimes, the nation's intelligence community gets "distracted by some records of innocent Americans, that we're not spending enough time actually following the potential jihadists in our country."

So rather than "spending billions and billions of dollars collecting the records of innocent Americans," Paul recommended something different: hiring "1,000 new FBI agents to track these people."

Ending the Patriot Act's bulk collection, said Paul, "is a big rebuke to the president."

"The president has been committing an illegal program. The court told him to stop. He wouldn't stop," Paul said. "And now Congress is going to tell the president, this must end. This is a big victory for the American people. "

Paul added that most also don't understand that records can be collected "with a traditional constitutional warrant" rather than through special powers given for bulk grabs.

"This is what we fought the American revolution over," he said Monday. "John Adams said it was the spark that led to the American revolution — that we were opposed to generalized warrants' scooping up everyone's records. We want suspicion to be individualized."

Paul also rejected McCain's argument that he is using the Patriot Act for fundraising and political reasons.

"I fought the identical fight in 2011," he said. "I tried to stop the Patriot Act then. They offered me two amendments in 2011, we came to compromise. This time I asked same thing. I was denied amendments."

Further, Paul said the issue is important to the American public, and that "over 80 percent of people under 40 think the government has gone too far collecting our records all of the time. Well over 50 percent of the Republicans believe this."

He added: "Sometimes we get caught up in this Washington atmosphere. But the truth of the matter is the American people think the government shouldn't be collecting their records indiscriminately."

But New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, appearing on the program after Paul, said that she believes it's important to give "our intelligence officials the tools that they need to obviously gather intelligence on groups like ISIS (the Islamic State) ... we can't go back to pre-9/11 mentality."

Ayotte said she does not disagree with Paul on his stance regarding the FBI and intelligence officials, "but I also think when we hear from our top intelligence officials that these are important tools to have, we should have the debate how to reform them — but make sure they have those tools, and also support them with additional agents if that's what they need to pursue terrorists."

A member of the Armed Services Committee, Ayotte said that there needs to be sharing of information and coordination on the ground, and that such sharing can "always be done better."

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Sen. Rand Paul admitted Monday that he may have "exaggerated" his words Sunday when he accused other senators of hoping for a terror attack they could blame on him, but he still believes that stopping the extension of the Patriot Act is a "huge victory" for the United States.
rand paul, patriot act, surveillance, liberty
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2015-15-01
Monday, 01 Jun 2015 11:15 AM
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