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by
Rick Moran

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June 9, 2013 - 8:28 am

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Senator Rand Paul suggested that he would challenge the NSA surveillance programs revealed this week in the Supreme Court. He also hinted at organizing a class action suit against the government.

The Hill:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday said he would examine ways to block the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs before the Supreme Court.

“I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level,” vowed Paul on “Fox News Sunday.”

“I’m going to be asking all the internet providers and all of the phone companies: Ask your customers to join me in a class action lawsuit. If we get 10 million Americans saying we don’t want our phone records looked at then maybe someone will wake up and something will change in Washington,” he said.

[...]

Paul said he was concerned with the scope of the NSA’s surveillance.

“They are looking at a billion phone calls a day, is what I read in the press and that doesn’t sound to me like a modest invasion of primary, it sounds like an extraordinary invasion of privacy,” said Paul.

Paul said such snooping was “partly what our founding fathers fought the revolution over.”

Asked about reports that the programs had helped thwart a terror attack in New York, Paul said he did not oppose surveillance targeted at a particular individual suspected of wrongdoing.

“I have no problem if you have probably cause and you target people who are terrorists and you go after them and the people they are communicating with… but we are talking about trolling through billions of phone records.

“We aren’t taking about going after a terrorist. I’m all for that,” he said.

Senator Paul does not have to go to all the trouble of starting a class action lawsuit or going to the Supreme Court. He and his colleagues can amend the relevant legislation — Patriot Act, FISA, and perhaps AUMF — to make sure the government can’t engage in these expansive surveillance dragnets.

But when it comes to privacy, Congress talks a good game, but rarely follows through in protecting privacy rights. So perhaps Paul will have better luck in court. The problem is, as far as we know, a FISA court judge signed off on all specific actions taken by the NSA so it’s hard to see where the constitutional challenge would come from. The programs are “legal.” The law has been followed. On what grounds would Paul challenge the government’s authority to conduct these surveillance programs?

The Senator’s proposal has merit, but it’s difficult to see how he would implement it.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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Top Rated Comments   
I know I'm paranoid, all those years of dealing with lefty unions made me that way, but these days, I'm starting to wonder if I'm paranoid enough. What if all the hoopla about the fabulous Obama Campaign ground game with all those selfless college kids going door to door to ID supporters was really just a cover story? All of us who've done campaign work know how hard it is to get people to go door to door and, especially how hard it is to get college kids to do anything well or long, even if they're getting course credit from a lefty professor for it.

Suppose OFA had access to the NSA's data. Suppose the new Organizing For America has access to the NSA's data. Suppose some federal court judges have dirty secrets. Suppose John Roberts has a dirty secret. It would explain some things, wouldn't it?
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (22)
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An update to my comment below. This from INSTAPUNDIT, that I had not thought about:

NSA SPYING: Reader Nelson Head writes: “Where’s the privileged communication now that lawyers’ correspondence with their clients is in Govt. databases? Wonder what Patton & Boggs think about their President now?”

Any attorney suing the government, any attorney defending against a criminal charge, any attorney appearing before a government board; every bit of lawyer's work product is on a computer, sent back and forth on the internet or smart phone is now and ever will be in the hands of the government. And that will include anything to do with a suit to stop the government from violating the law and Constitution.

I assume that the new statues of Justice holding the scales will have a large Obama symbol weighing down one side.

Subotai Bahadur
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good. The politicians in DC just do not believe in limited government. A request for all records from Verizon? No way. Sorry we already know this administration cannot be trusted with power.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Going the congressional route is fruitless. Both the Democrats and the Institutional Republicans will block any actions.

However, that does not necessarily mean that going through the courts is a sure, viable, route. As has been noted, it is likely that much of the Federal judiciary is compromised by blackmail, and it is almost certain that Chief Justice Roberts is, giving the regime a majority for pretty much anything they want.

However, let us make a best case assumption, and say that the Supreme Court explicitly and in sufficient detail to leave no room for equivocation, tells the regime to stop everything immediately and destroy all data not backed by a specific warrant showing probable cause. And while we are dreaming, mandates charges, trials, and the possibility of major prison time for everyone involved.

Two problems. This regime has not shown any inclination to obey court orders it does not like. So if they ignore the Supreme Court, then what?

Second, let us say that they claim that they have complied. Is there anyone in this country not a registered Democrat who would believe them?

It may be a necessary step, but it is not a cure-all.

The solutions of a Republic may not be available to those actually living in the Principate.

Subotai Bahadur
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep brave Rand Paul. He voted for the Patriot Act. He'd better hope he isn't the first victim of domestic droning.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
He wasn't in office when it first was voted on, and he voted against the extension.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Law is Unconstitutional.
It completely eliminates 4th Amendment protections.
Bad word=Islam, blown up
Good word=Cops
III
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
THE INEFFECTIVENESS OF NSA SURVEILANCE PROGRAMS

NSA thwarted Rezwanul Nafis from blowing up the New York Federal Reserve. Thwarted Amine El Khalifi from blowing up the US Capital. Thwarted Sami Osmakac from blowing up parts of Tampa, Florida. Thwarted Ferooque Ahmed from blowing up Washington area subways. And the list of NSA failures goes on.

ABOLISH NSA SURVEILANCE PROGRAMS NOW!

LET'S BECOME A PRE-9/11 NATION
IN A POST 9/11 WORLD!

IF YOUR LEGS ARE BLOWN OFF
AT LEAST BIG BROTHER ISN'T WATCHING YOU.

(SARC)
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's questionable.

But you know what, even if it did, I don't think turning the country into a police state is worth preventing a few terrorist attacks a decade.

Liberty and Security are a trade off. I don't want to give up my liberty for perceived security. Even if those happened, you'd be more likely to hit by lightning than killed in them.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
>The programs are “legal.”<

From what I've been reading, that's a questionable premise. One of the authors of the Patriot Act said the government had gone much further than anyone who voted for that legislation had intended.

In any case, the important issue is how the data might be used, or more properly, misused, by the government. We can't trust the Obama regime to NOT misuse it after learning about the IRS scandal.

I want to see some real guarantee against misuse, and I'm not talking about secretly briefing Congress once a year, or some secret court issuing secret orders that only the government is allowed to read.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
A legislator's statement regarding his/her understanding of the intent of legislation is only rarely even admissible. In my experience a legislator's recollection tends to vary with the political winds.

As long as there are human beings sitting in front of terminals with access to confidential or classified data, there is going to be improper access to that data. The key is to make the improperly accessed data difficult and in some instances impossible to use against someone. Unfortunately, the most common misuse is to acquire dirty little secrets about people and then bend them to your will in order to keep the dirty secret. This is even more dangerous than using the dirty secret to damage or destroy someone because doing that reveals that you have ways to learn dirty little secrets.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's a lot I like about Rand Paul, but his arguments regarding the 4th amendment and the collection of telephone metadata are specious: phone numbers, duration of calls, connections to which numbers -- none of this is information covered by reasonable expectation of privacy, as the 1979 Smith v. Maryland SCOTUS decision made clear. The content of a telephone conversation is a wholly different matter -- that's covered by the very strict warrant requirements of the 4th amendment. But telephone records, the kind of information that's printed on your phone bill and is available to any random customer-service rep you get on the phone during a dispute, aren't

I'm very concerned that, legitimately traumatized as we are by a lawless administration that uses government power to harass political foes (IRS, &c.) and by its actions shows contempt for our constitutional principles, we're going to be lead by libertarian reactionaries to throw the national security baby out with the bathwater, ban legitimate counterterrorism tools, and leave ourselves exposed to our jihadist enemies. And then, when another 9/11 hits, find ourselves wondering why no one "connected the dots."

Now that the data-collection secret is out, what's needed is a full and open airing of what's being done, and what the safeguards and oversight are, so the public can (for once) come to an informed judgment. What we don't need is grandstanding and more knee-jerk legislation.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Phineas, your inference that because the information is available to random phone service reps means it isn't subject to privacy concerns is deeply flawed.

ALL my important information is available to various service representatives. When I call my bank the customer rep accesses my financial information. Same with credit card, power company, cable company, water company, etc... But they, and those companies are not at liberty to share my data, and if they did share it indiscriminately I would be suffering economic harm (at the very least) as a result.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
The people who wrote the 4th Amendment just went through a war with numerous traitors (ie, Canadians).

They knew exactly what they were doing, that even a war isn't something you give up basic rights for
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, he is right. If the government wants your phone records, they have to get a warrant. To get a warrant, they have to show probable cause. The NSA is just grabbing the records. Do they have FISA court approval? Not clear. (Likely not... not to this extent.) Even so, they do not have probable cause.

I expect that this will eventually be proven to be more illegal over-reaching by this administration. It's a pattern with these guys.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I dunno, Rand is starting to sound just a liitle bit like his old man, or at least a little too prone to grandstanding, whether it makes entire sense or not.

The POINT of all the data is exactly to troll through it and look for stuff you don't already know.

Data in these mass quantities is by its nature mostly anonymous, until something is detected and you drill down to the details. Let them gather the data, but make *release* of conclusions require a court order.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's not that they gather the data. It's how they secure it, or delete it. As long as it is there, it is subject to abuse, and thus, will get abused. The simple fact is, some people are criminal in their thinking, and many, many of those work for the government.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you trust any government and especially the Soros Junta to just troll your data indiscriminately, you're a fool. You don't have to be a high-ranking official to decide to make inappropriate access to personal/confidential/classified data. If you're the technoweenie sitting in front of a screen with access to PRISM, there's really no difference between looking up, say John Roberts on Google or on PRISM. This is especially true with the attitudes of many people, especially young, tech oriented people towards data being sort of a universally available commodity. Bradley Manning is not unique.

Over the years I did several investigations and diciplinary proceedings and referrals for prosecution over government employees making improper access to confidential data, personnel and payroll date, and especially law enforcement criminal/arrest records. Meet a woman, look her up in the personnel or labor force data to see what she makes, whether she's married. If she's divorced or divorcing do her a favor and look up her ex or ex to be for her. Your union or you on your own want background info on some candidate or elected or appointed official, just look it up and give it to the union. Getting sued, divorced, charged criminally, look up the judge, the prosecutor. Happens every day at every level of government.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree with your examples. People don't reallize that it doesn't take a secret court order for abuse to occur, and it most likely occurs far more often without a court order, and in the way that you described.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know I'm paranoid, all those years of dealing with lefty unions made me that way, but these days, I'm starting to wonder if I'm paranoid enough. What if all the hoopla about the fabulous Obama Campaign ground game with all those selfless college kids going door to door to ID supporters was really just a cover story? All of us who've done campaign work know how hard it is to get people to go door to door and, especially how hard it is to get college kids to do anything well or long, even if they're getting course credit from a lefty professor for it.

Suppose OFA had access to the NSA's data. Suppose the new Organizing For America has access to the NSA's data. Suppose some federal court judges have dirty secrets. Suppose John Roberts has a dirty secret. It would explain some things, wouldn't it?
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've seen what I suspected to be OFA people in bright blue polo shirts, obviously not volunteers, walking my (conservative) neighborhood recently. They don't go to every house, just some. Then on Friday saw a BMW idling curbside in front of my neighbor's home, with an OFA vanity plate, woman sitting and talking on a cellphone. I decided to go up the driveway and check my mail, and of course to make the stereotype complete there was a handicapped placard hanging from the rear view mirror. My suburban street is a horseshoe which doubles back to a road which dead ends at the top of a hill. No one has a reason to drive through unless they live there, or are making a service call.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Suppose John Roberts has a dirty secret."

That's a thought that's been running through my head from early on in IRSGate.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
it's been running through my head since he re-wrote obamacare
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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