Rand Paul vs. the NSA


Senator Rand Paul held a press conference yesterday announcing his intent to seek legal action against the federal government  for the seizure and surveillance of millions of Americans’ phone data. Sen. Paul was joined by Representatives Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, Mick Mulvaney, Louie Gohmert and Mark Sanford, as well as representatives for the ACLU, Freedomworks, EPIC, Campaign for Liberty, and YAL. 

Senator Paul opened the press conference today by reminding the American people that it is our historic respect for the rule of law that separates us from the terrorists. The Bill of Rights was adopted as part of our Constitution specifically to ensure that government would not infringe upon our natural rights, one of which is the right to our own property. 
If our government is routinely collecting records of our private phone conversations, text messages, and emails, then we can no longer say that we are enjoying the right to our own property. Our government does not have the luxury of suspending any part of our Constitution just because it becomes inconvenient to their methods of intelligence gathering. 
If the government continues to disregard the rule of law, we lower ourselves to the level of those we fight.

Senator Paul, along with constitutional expert Bruce Fein, likened the actions of the NSA to those of the British crown prior to Revolutionary War. One of the final sources of contention that radiated through the American colonies prior to 1776 was the implementation of Writs of Assistance being used by the British government to search the American colonists and their homes. Unlike a warrant, Writs of Assistance were not specific and allowed agents of the British crown to search the colonists wherever and for whatever they pleased. John Adams believed that the Writs of Assistance served as the final straw for the colonists in the days leading up to the Revolutionary War.

Fein quoted from William Pitt the Elder, who said, “The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail—its roof may shake—the wind may blow through it—the storm may enter—the rain may enter—but the King of England cannot enter”. It was this firm belief in the individual right to ones own property that led the Founding Fathers to include the fourth amendment in the Bill of Rights, the same fourth amendment that is now being violated by our own government. Fein compared Senator Paul to James Otis, who passionately fought against the British Writs of Assistance, and said that Senator Rand Paul “deserves a salute for his courage.” 

Laura Murphy, representative of the ACLU, joined Senator Paul and called for an end to all the government secrecy our country is currently experiencing. Murphy encouraged the American people to get involved and said that this is no longer a question of whether or not the government is illegally gathering information on its citizens, but a question of how we are going to stop it.

FreedomWorks president and CEO Matt Kibbe offered his support by saying, “I stand with the people on this one”. Kibbe also called out Senator Lindsey Graham for his support of the NSA by launching www.Lindseyspassword.com. The site is dedicated to challenging the, “If you’re not talking to a terrorist you have nothing to fear” rhetoric frequently used by Graham. Kibbe stated that, “Graham should put his money where his mouth is” and encouraged Americans to go to the site and sign the petition to have Graham reveal all of his online passwords.

 Senator Paul’s courage is admirable and one can only hope that his efforts will continue to gain traction throughout the country. 

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