Sen. Rand Paul announced Wednesday afternoon his intention to filibuster the extension of the Patriot Act, and insisted that he would not be shoved aside without a debate on this important issue.
As PJ Media’s Elizabeth Sheld reported,yesterday, Republicans have been fighting over what version of the Patriot Act to re-authorize.
McConnell and Rubio want the entire thing including the controversial Section 215 authorizing the government to collect your phone records; Senators Lee and Cruz prefer the USA Freedom Act, which doesn’t allow the government surveillance dragnet; and Senator Rand Paul has thrown down entirely, threatening to filibuster the Patriot Act if it is re-authorized with the snooping provision in place.
At 1:18 p.m Eastern, the Kentucky senator threw down, vowing to hold the floor protesting “this most unpatriotic of acts” until he could not go any longer. You can watch it live at CSPAN.
“It’s time to end the NSA spying,” his official Twitter account said in a post at 1:36 p.m., as he was on the floor.
Mr. Paul is waging a lonely fight, demanding that the government stop snooping without probable cause or a warrant. That’s a step beyond even some of his other erstwhile civil libertarian allies who want to curtail the Patriot Act’s bulk collection, but would still allow government agents to go after the records of individuals without first seeking a warrant.
Indeed, the lonely fight was underscored by the scene on the Senate floor in the middle of the afternoon: Mr. Paul was the only senator present, save for the one Republican required to be in the presiding officer’s chair.Armed with binders, file folders and a barely touched glass of water, he paced behind his desk on the right wing of the Senate, occasionally flipping through notes to find his place as he offered a lengthy discussion of the Obama administration’s duplicity in maintaining the National Security Agency’s snooping program.