One of the more heated moments of the GOP debate last night took place between candidates Rand Paul and Chris Christie about NSA domestic surveillance.
Said Christie, “I will make no apologies ever for protecting the lives and the safety of the American people. We need to give more tools to our folks to be able to do that, not fewer, and then trust those people and oversee them to do it the right way. As president, that’s exactly what I will do.”
To which Paul responded, “I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans. The Fourth Amendment was what we fought the Revolution over. John Adams said it was the spark that led to our War for Independence. I’m proud of standing for the Bill of Rights and I will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights.”
And Christie snarked back, “That is a completely ridiculous answer!”
But what is really ridiculous is handing over the personal communications data of American citizens without due process to an administration that has shown itself more than willing to target its political foes.
Paul responded to Christie, “Get a warrant, get a judge to sign a warrant.”
“I’m talking about searches, without warrants, indiscriminately of all American’s records, and that’s what I fought to end,” said Paul. “I don’t trust President Obama with our records. I know you gave him a big hug, and if you want to give him a big hug again, go right ahead.”
Christie then quickly played his 9/11 card. “The hugs that I remember are the hugs I gave to the families who lost their people on September 11th,” he said. “Those are the hugs I remember.”
He also said to Rand, “When you’re sitting in a subcommittee just blowing hot air about this, you can say things like this.”
And if you’re sitting in the White House you can’t just violate free citizens’ right to be free from unlawful search and seizure by the government, Mr. Christie.
Christie asked, “How do we know who the terrorists are?” which is truly a ridiculous thing to say. This kind of thinking implies we need to investigate EVERYONE to find who the terrorists are. I mean, hey man, if you have nothing to hide, why not let the authorities rifle around in your banking and email accounts just to be sure you are behaving? (Christie might want to have a read of this Pat Poole piece. We actually do know who many of these folks are.)
I would not look forward to the new “guilty until proven innocent standard” under a possible Christie administration.