Tags: rand | paul | big | brother

Rand Paul: Big Brother is Watching

By Dan Weil   |   Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013 11:21 AM

The National Security Agency's surveillance program is a manifestation of a virtual police state, libertarian Republican Sen. Rand Paul says.

"If this is the new normal in America, then Big Brother certainly is watching and it's not hyperbolic or extreme to say so," the Kentucky senator writes in The Wall Street Journal.

"Nor is it unreasonable to fear which parts of the Constitution this government will next consider negotiable or negligible."

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Paul is upset with President Barack Obama's response to the public outcry over the program. Obama said, "In the abstract, you can complain about Big Brother . . . but when you actually look at the details, I think we've struck the right balance."

Paul heartily disagrees. The NSA program violates the Fourth Amendment, he says.

"How many records did the NSA seize from Verizon? Hundreds of millions. We are now learning about more potential mass data collections by the government from other communications and online companies," he says.

"These are the 'details,' and few Americans consider this approach 'balanced,' though many rightly consider it Orwellian."

Paul says he doesn't trust the government to safeguard the privacy of the records it collects. "The president assures us that the government is simply monitoring the origin and length of phone calls, not eavesdropping on their contents," the senator writes.

"Is this administration seriously asking us to trust the same government that admittedly targets political dissidents through the Internal Revenue Service and journalists through the Justice Department?"

Paul says the White House understates the magnitude of the NSA program. "Monitoring the records of as many as a billion phone calls, as some news reports have suggested, is no modest invasion of privacy," he states.

"It is an extraordinary invasion of privacy. We fought a revolution over issues like generalized warrants, where soldiers would go from house to house, searching anything they liked." This is the modern equivalent, Paul says.

"I also believe that trolling through millions of phone records hampers the legitimate protection of our security," he writes. Despite all the government's data mining, it didn't act on the information that one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects traveled to Chechnya, Paul notes.

"Perhaps instead of treating every American as a potential terror suspect the government should concentrate on more targeted analysis."

The administration simply claims blanket access to all Americans' private information, Paul says. "This response is a clear indication that the president views our Constitutional 'right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects' as null and void."

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