Rand Paul to sue Obama administration over NSA
February 11th, 2014
06:45 PM ET
7 months 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. Larry38363

    He and his extremist conservatives in the Republican Party should be sued as Domestic Terrorists!

    February 12, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Sherry

    What is up with this guy? Is he and a lot of others nuts. The NSA has done nothing wrong. And if every one would fact check they would know it was not wrong. The law said that the social media 501c4 is for EXCHUSIVELY for social only. And in 1959 The Republican President changed it with out taking a vote to change it. And until Lawrence O'Donnell told everyone about the law everyone didn't ck to see what the law was. Don't believe me fact check it.

    February 12, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  3. pop

    does SPYWARE exist on browser, software, etc... Americans heard of world of warcraft, angry birds, etc.... It's puts American security risk.

    So. is internet safe?

    February 12, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. pop

    any spywares?

    February 12, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. rs

    Good luck with that Senator. Ever consider reading the U.S. Constitution? Maybe taking a Civic class? Nah, too much trouble, right?

    February 12, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. tom l

    Malory Archer

    tom l

    @Rudy,
    And I'm the exact opposite of black and white (with us or against us, dem vs repub) as my positions on several different issues bounce from liberal to conservative. Nice try though

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    However, none of those so-called "liberal" positions you claim to possess have EVER shown up in ANY of your rantings on these message threads. Nice try but I call BS

    =====
    You have really learned that FIFY trick well! Kudos. However, you couldn't be more wrong as I have said on several occasions that I am against our foreign follies, I am pro choice, gay marriage should be legal, so should pot, I think repubs impose on everyone with their social issues which is wrong,and I am against the Patriot Act. You're probably too busy with your "ilk" comments, you're new little FIFY trick and calling people rethugs to notice. But that's ok. Keep on with your intellectual dishonesty and support things like the NSA spying on us while you're guy is in office. Should work out well for you and your consistency when a repub is president. Oh, and I'm a libertarian.

    February 12, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. William

    Sovereign Immunity?

    February 12, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. tom l

    @rs
    The other day I told Rudy, The Real TP, Sniffit and a few others that I had heard a story that the administration was considering droning an American suspected of plotting an attack with Al Qaida to kill Americans. I would be very curious to get your response and how you would feel about this.

    February 12, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. L

    Rand Paul has no idea what Democracy is and is a traitor to this country. He and the Crazy right have spent years just trying to get back at the Democratic POTUS for winning two elections. I think Rand Paul is insane and dangerous to the GOP and this country. If he had spent nearly this much energy trying to help the President fix the economy and had dealt with real issues, he and the GOP might not be the joke that they right now. The Republicans only believe in Democracy when they are in office. Pitiful and Shameful.

    February 12, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. sk

    "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,"

    If that is true, why disn't he name the entire congress as a party in the suit.

    February 12, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. jesse285

    Why don't Rand Paul have a life? Of all the lame-brain things a person can do he pick this one,why don't or why didn't he join the army or navy and put his life on the line like some of our brother and sister? I suppose not because he could not fight his way out of a wet paper bag!!!

    February 12, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    tom l wrote:

    The other day I told Rudy, The Real TP, Sniffit and a few others that I had heard a story that the administration was considering droning an American suspected of plotting an attack with Al Qaida to kill Americans. I would be very curious to get your response and how you would feel about this.

    You have really learned that FIFY trick well! Kudos. However, you couldn't be more wrong as I have said on several occasions that I am against our foreign follies, I am pro choice, gay marriage should be legal, so should pot, ...
    -----------------–
    The "other day" was yesterday, I suggested that you should either duck or run for cover. No one has accepted your premise as fact, either, tom.

    You view, all of them, are the definition of a neo-libertarian, tom. Are you saying that we never should have went into Afghanistan after the Taliban and Bin Laden following 9/11? I ask because it sure sounds like it.

    February 12, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. steve

    Republicans and their frivolous law suits!!

    February 12, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. stella mcdaniel

    r paul very very scarey he has come to take the country back. to where I would like to know/

    February 12, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. fayse

    Ran Paul is a showboat. He will never be President. His father finally gave up because he too was never going to be President.

    February 12, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. Chris-E...al

    DO ALL you folks remember years ag0 when a Afgan president tryed t0 hand 0ver 0sama Bin ladin t0 a american prez name waS Clinton . an he didnt want him .An then he did ??by sh00ting a few Cruz missles 0ver his head?? And then the 911 advent came along an s0 did N.S.A. .. and then WAR. and all the tragic things that c0mes with war.! thank y0u . and cnn

    February 12, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Grahame Rhodes

    Ah Well We have Rob Ford you have, OH so many. Ted Cruz Palin Paul and all the others. Sorry for you all. WE STILL HAVE ROB FORD. WE LOSE YOU WIN.

    February 12, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. Lee

    Glad to see a fellow Kentucky Republican take on this corrupt administration! Proud to be a Republican from Appalachia and even more proud of Rand Paul. This administration has totally ignored this part of the country and the people that live and vote here. Time and time again, the Obama administration has made aggressive attempts to destroy the coal industry, one of our only natural resources. He has destroyed jobs and families lives in this area. My father, who is a retired educator, has watched his insurance premiums rise from $5 per pay check to $175 per paycheck with the introduction of Obamacare. Obama is way out of touch with ordinary Americans and is not at all concerned about the "middle class".

    February 12, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. WhatsamattaU

    While I think this guy is quite a right wing nut, I was supportive of the lawsuit when I first read the piece, what the NSA is doing and is allowed to do needs to be litigated and eventually be the subject of the Supreme Court. That was until I heard that the lawyer he hired was the far wackier Ken Cuccinelli. Any and all credibility that the lawsuit may have engendered with me went right out the window. The matter should be litigated, but by serious people, not these clowns.

    February 12, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. tom l

    @Rudy,
    So it was reported here on CNN. Just like the Real TP had his social experiment with me last week, I thought it would be interesting to hear what liberals thought of this. So there you have it.

    As far as me being a neo-libertarian, ummm, yeah, that's not me whatsoever. You are, once again, wholly confused and actually contradict yourself in your comment. You call me a neo-libertarian, which by definition means that I support the use of military for pre-emptive strikes and then in the very same comment say that I wouldn't have supported going in to Afghanistan. Do you see your self contradiction there, big guy?

    And, again, you will see that your claim that I am black and white on everything will be shattered by my response with regards to Afghanistan. To me, it made sense to go after Al Qaida and Bin Laden as they were the clear perpetrators of 9/11 so of course we should go after them there. Do I think what we have done since invading there makes any sense? No. I think it's not the "good war" and we have completely changed what we said we went in there for. We now have a pres that has signed a long term agreement to stay there in perpetuity. I was against Iraq with Bush in office as it didn't make sense to preemptively strike like that (so much for your neo-libertarian charge). You should pay better attention to what I say so that you don't come off as confused as you do. xoxo

    February 12, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. hp

    So is gw going to mamed in this too

    February 12, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. den49

    Um.

    Um
    who is gonna pay the bill on this one? I thought we had to watch our spending. WOW

    February 12, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Michele

    Very surprised by all of the people that have no problem with NSA invading their privacy – so you wouldn't mind a knock on your door from an officer and you'd be ok with watching him go through your house without a warrant? Think people. If you allow small intrusions into your privacy then why not big ones? Stop being distracted by all the junk and try to focus.

    February 12, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. AntiSocialist

    Stella – just back to the spirit of '76, when Americans wouldn't stand idly by while as government imposed Tyranny. Don't engage in intellectual dishonesty and false comparisons. Returning to a time when the 4th Amendment was still respected does not automatically mean going back to a time when the 13th Amendment became necessary. That is a false narrative perpetuated insistently by people who are trying to manipulate you emotionally. You do not have to give up one liberty in order to secure another. You do not have to purchase security at the cost of liberty. Anyone who tells you that you do is a liar.

    February 12, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  25. AntiSocialist

    *when Americans would not stand idly by while a government imposes Tyranny*

    February 12, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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