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John Yoo: Rand Paul Jeopardizes Nation By Stamping on NSA

By    |   Thursday, 04 Jun 2015 05:01 PM

Sen. Rand Paul is "crazy" to criticize the National Security Agency's phone and email surveillance programs since, despite what he says, they are stopping terrorism, says John Yoo, a former deputy assistant U.S. attorney general under President George W. Bush.

"I'm afraid he [is wrong] on the facts and on the law. On the facts, it's just crazy to say that this NSA bulk collection program hasn't produced any information that's let us break up terrorist attacks," Yoo said Thursday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"Unless he's privy to information that's not privy to the heads of the NSA and the CIA who have been telling us in public that the information has led to the prevention of terrorist attacks, he's completely wrong."

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Paul, a Kentucky Republican who is running for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, succeeded in blocking Senate renewal of the NSA's authority to collect massive amounts of Americans' phone calls and emails — saying the program trampled the Fourth Amendment's right to privacy.

"On the law, which is the most important question here, he's incorrect and I'm afraid [so] the other senators in Congress and voted with him, too," Yoo, a professor at UC Berkeley School of Law, told Steve Malzberg.

"The Fourth Amendment doesn't protect information which is handed over to third parties ... The Constitution has long been held by our courts not to give any privacy protections to phone numbers that we dial and things like that.

"Those are things that are outside our privacy protection. Our government has been trying to respect very carefully the Constitution and our individual rights throughout all of the responses to 9/11."

Yoo — who drafted the rules governing the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" of terror suspects, and is author of "Point of Attack: Preventive War, International Law, and Global Welfare," published by Oxford University Press — added:

"The government can still get all this information by a warrant, but what they've done is they have slowed it down. They have made it much harder for our government to act quickly and decisively after we get information about an al-Qaida leader's phone book or contact information.

"I don't see why our privacy protections are better enhanced and our national security protected just by making our intelligence agents work at a slower deliberately, more inefficient, ineffective way ... Paul and people who are voting with him are willing to hold all that hostage."

Yoo said a big worry is that the government will no longer be able to properly keep an eye on lone wolves, who, while not directly connected to terrorist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS), are popping up all around the country to launch "sympathizer attacks."

"They were willing to force us to go back to exactly the world we had before 9/11. In a world where we had to willingly blind ourselves and not use the tools that would've allowed us to stop the 9/11 attacks," Yoo said.

"What worries me is that the end of the NSA bulk collection program is taking away exactly the kind of tool we need for the kind of attacks we're going to be getting in the future, which is going to be more dispersed, less like the 9/11 hijackers and more like the Boston Marathon bombing."

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Sen. Rand Paul is "crazy" to criticize the National Security Agency's phone and email surveillance programs since, despite what he says, they are stopping terrorism, says John Yoo, a former deputy assistant U.S. attorney general under President George W. Bush.
john yoo, rand paul, nsa, surveillance
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2015-01-04
Thursday, 04 Jun 2015 05:01 PM
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