Rand Paul, other conservatives file suit over NSA spying

The group alleges violation of constitutional rights

Rand Paul photo via Wikipedia

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and members of a libertarian group have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Obama administration over National Security Agency (NSA) data collection. The lawsuit joins several other lawsuits targeting the NSA.

Paul’s suit, filed in concert with conservative group FreedomWorks, alleges that the NSA’s bulk collection program, under which the agency has collected the telephone metadata of many Americans, violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects against unreasonable searches. The suit also names National Intelligence Director James Clapper, outgoing NSA Director Keith Alexander, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey. CNN reports the lawsuits’ plaintiffs and class members want a declaration that bulk metadata collection is unconstitutional, an end to it, and an order to purge stored data that’s related to plaintiffs and class members.

“There's a huge and growing swell of protest in this country of people who are outraged that their records would be taken without suspicion, without a judge's warrant and without individualization,” Paul said Wednesday morning at a Washington D.C. press conference where he unveiled the suit.

In response to the lawsuit, a spokesman for the Department of Justive said on Feb 12, “We remain confident that the Section 215 telephone metadata program is legal, as at least 15 judges have previously found.”

According to Politico.com, Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s former attorney general and last fall’s unsuccessful GOP nominee for governor, is serving as lead counsel for the case. Paul was also joined by Matt Kibbe, the president and chief executive officer of the tea party-tied group FreedomWorks. The men stressed they wanted to make sure the NSA was not going beyond the boundaries of the Constitution.

“I’m not against the NSA, I’m not against spying, I’m not against looking at phone records,” Paul said. “I just want you to go to a judge, have an individual’s name and [get] a warrant. That’s what the Fourth Amendment says.”  Paul, a possible contender for the White House in 2016 argued that there is very little evidence to suggest the NSA surveillance of phone data has stopped terrorism. But proponents of the spying say it plays an important role in keeping the homeland safe.

 

For more on these NSA spying allegations check out these stories:

Senator Rand Paul files class action suit against NSA, national security leaders

State lawmakers trying to rein in feds

Technology companies form coalition to counter NSA data collection

Contributing Author

Alexis Harrison

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