Rand Paul to sue Obama administration over NSA
February 11th, 2014
06:45 PM ET
4 years ago

Rand Paul to sue Obama administration over NSA

(CNN) - Sen. Rand Paul will sue President Barack Obama and top officials in the National Security Agency over surveillance.

Paul's political action committee, RandPAC, announced plans by the Kentucky senator and potential 2016 presidential candidate to file a class-action challenge on Wednesday.

The suit also will name National Intelligence Director James Clapper, outgoing NSA Director Keith Alexander, and FBI Director James Comey.

A firebrand in the Republican Party whose brand of conservatism embraces Libertarian ideals, Paul is an ardent critic of U.S. surveillance programs, which he says infringe on basic civil liberties under the Constitution.

"The Bill of Rights protects all citizens from general warrants. I expect this case to go all the way to the Supreme Court and I predict the American people will win," Paul said in a statement.

Ken Cuccinelli, a former Republican attorney general in Virginia who lost the state’s gubernatorial election last fall, will serve as lead counsel.

Matt Kibbe, president of the tea party-aligned group FreedomWorks, also joined the lawsuit, saying any American with a phone should be invested in his case.

"This class action suit isn't about Republican versus Democrat, or progressive versus conservative. This is about defending the basic civil liberties of every American from a government that has crossed the line," he said. "Never in American history has there been such a warrantless gathering of citizens information. We believe it is time to put this before the courts."

National security leaks about bulk NSA collection of telephone and e-mail data exposed by former agency contractor Edward Snowden last year outraged libertarians, privacy advocates and many members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.

They considered it government overreach in the fight against terrorism.

Obama has defended the programs, but announced modest reforms to NSA's practices.

In a speech at the Justice Department last month, Obama revealed new guidance for intelligence-gathering as well as changes intended to balance what he called the nation's vital security needs with concerns over privacy and civil liberties.

Paul joins a number of anti-NSA activists who are unsatisfied with the proposed changes.

CNN's Alison Harding contributed to this report.

Filed under: Edward Snowden • James Clapper • James Comey • Ken Cuccinelli • NSA • President Obama • Rand Paul
soundoff (444 Responses)
  1. PaulG

    "This is about defending the basic civil liberties of every American from a government that has crossed the line."
    Spot on, it puzzles me how some people don't get this.

    February 11, 2014 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    The Cooch is back! I wonder how much longer the majority of republicans are going to tolerate Rand's stupidity.

    February 11, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  3. jinx9to88

    Ahhh yes the wackos trying to get the really "wacko birds" vote. Look, if they ease up on the wire tapping and someone attacks the US then the wackos on the right will blame the admin for not doing enough. Take all my phone records you want I have nothing to hide.

    February 11, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  4. JCDavis

    "I predict the American people will win."

    Depends how many justices are being blackmailed.

    February 11, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. Winston Smith

    This clown just don't get it. He's acting like someone out here really cares what he does. He's a fool, and needs to be recalled.

    February 11, 2014 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. grannygoody

    Must be a slow week for the GOP's Religious Right. Usually their targets are women, children, the elderly, the unemployed, families on food stamps or immigrants. Do what you want, but our President's no push-over Mr. Paul!

    February 11, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  7. Smitty

    Good luck, Obammy will just lie more to cover his lameo backside!!!

    February 11, 2014 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. Gurgyl

    Sue patriotic Act too. You don't have any locus STANDI in suit, idiot. They dismiss the suit.

    February 11, 2014 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. nintex

    And when the next terrorist attack happens, Rand and the tea party people will sue the government because they didn't know ahead of time when and where the attack was going to take place and warn everybody. These people are nuts!

    February 11, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  10. Harold Read

    "You can keep you policy. Period."
    "We don’t have a domestic spying program"
    "There is no spying on Americans"
    "“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    ObamaBots are content to let Barack destroy this once great country.

    February 11, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  11. FrankinSD

    It should take a Federal District Court (even in Kentucky) about five minutes to deal with this. I thought that Republicans disapproved of frivolous law suits.

    February 11, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  12. Chipster

    Paul wants to sue the Administration because the IRS has been doing its job – don't think that will go too far. The IRS is expected to review organizations for using the appropriate IRS code when they file for tax exemption. There were many new Tea Party organizations that filed as 501.c.4 in order to avoid reporting requirements of political organizations. There were other organizations that filed under incorrect codes too but there were so many new Tea Party groups that, naturally, there would have been more of them that required corrections. I think it's astonishing that the Republican Party is actually disappointed that the IRS has been doing its job. Tea Party groups simply need to file under the correct code for their political activities and follow the rules for such organizations when it comes to reporting funds received and funds distributed. Issa looked pretty foolish during hearings on the topic and dropped it suddenly like a hot potato when the public began to realize the problem was not with the IRS but with the Tea Party.

    February 11, 2014 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. Dusty

    Whaaat..... a wack-a-duddle!

    Good luck dude! You might as well sue Bush for the patriot act that made this happen....

    February 11, 2014 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. NameNabeel

    Hes just looking for votes.

    February 11, 2014 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  15. Big_D

    Blame it on Obama. You notice it is a problem now not when the GOP used it.

    February 11, 2014 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  16. Big_D

    Blame it on Obama, the GOP play book. They must be worried they know where they are stashing the money they took.

    February 11, 2014 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. Gary

    We'll just add that to the 24 billion. The American People will win when you are out of politics. Only a few RWNJ's think you are helping Americans.

    February 11, 2014 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  18. Smitty

    Now under the Obammy admin there are crack pipe vending machines, Hope and Change, what a total disaster this admin has been

    February 11, 2014 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  19. len

    Is suing the Reagan administration and Bush administration since they started and continued the program!!! What a hypocrit

    February 11, 2014 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  20. I think there's a book about this?

    I think there's a book, The Sovereign Citizen: Denaturalization and the Origins of the American Republic, that talks about a 30 year battle on this. The Warren Court's eventual decision to uphold the sovereignty of the citizen—not the state—secures our national order to this day.

    February 11, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  21. ja

    Is this the filibuster man, what waste, he should stick his head back in the sand

    February 11, 2014 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  22. is this even our government?

    sometimes i wonder if this government is even ours.

    February 11, 2014 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. king

    I wonder what kind of president Mr Paul would make. lesson Paul if it wasn't government where would black and brown people be in America right now. how many attacks would America be going through if we left the gates open for every terrorist to come through. lessen Paul believing in something is less complicated than going through the vigors of making it work. We live in rational world which takes rational solutions. Always remember that nothing in this world is free, somebody has to pay.

    February 11, 2014 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  24. penguin

    If Rand Paul really wanted to win this lawsuit he would have hired a more competent attorney

    February 11, 2014 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  25. Mike in Texas

    Class actions suits only benefit the attorneys who rake in the millions. Go ahead with another stunt Rand and keep trying to go after President Bill Clinton who still has a high approval rating. Just someone trying to get into the news.

    February 11, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
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