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. tom l

    rs and Rudy,
    So it was reported on CNN by Erin Burnett, big guy.

    And rs, I am honestly really surprised by your answer. You know that I am a libertarian so this would be completely consistent with my views from the outset. I am shocked that you would trust the very same govt that brought us WMD's and the reason we needed to go to Iraq and now that your guy is in office you're totally cool with this. Remember, he is a "suspect" right now. He hasn't been found guilty. I can guarantee you that the "right" would fully support this action. You don't think McCain and Graham would support droning this guy out? Of course they would. Why would you deflect the question and pose it on some mythical "right" argument. you know that your analogy about the policeman shooting a criminal is not even remotely the same. Not even close. What you have shown me today is that you trust Obama a lot. I'm not sure why considering the people he gets his info from are the same ones that told us about WMD's. I am truly shocked at the lack of consistency for your beliefs that you have just because your guy is in office. Would you honestly hold the same opinion if this was 2007 and Bush were in office? I hardly think so but you can tell me if I'm wrong and I'll take you at your word.

    Very feisty, rs. Why such anger towards me for asking you a question?

    February 12, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. tom l

    And my "gotcha" question was merely to see how many of the liberals on here, including you, Rudy, The Real TP, Dutch (Sniffit refused to answer) would demonstrably change your tone now that Obama is in office. Apparently now you don't see the need for due process because the govt has told you that he is guilty.

    Wow do I wish that Fair and Yolanda could see this.

    February 12, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. Pickle430

    Where do I sign up at?

    February 12, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Brenda Rose

    I want to join the law suite against Obama.

    February 12, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. Cynthia

    Sen Paul? PLEASE continue to fight for us, if U don't, no one else will!! Thank you!!!!

    February 12, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. Monte Montierth

    Count me in if the taxpayers are not paying for this. I see most suits against elected people are settled using taxpayers money and the real criminal pays nothing.

    February 12, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. Keith

    I have never felt so unfairly knowledgeable about the privacy issues that plague the masses of The United States of America. There is a level of understanding of these issues being monitored, but like anything else, there are boundaries for humanity's fundamental rights. I believe in Earth Tolerance. A place that does not handle issues in a violent manner, stalking manner, and flat out privacy breach. We can not continue to police the world any longer. Likewise,returning the surveillance help to keep the country protected should not be turned inward either. I am not sure how many have been victimized, but I will say that I feel u can relate. God, bless this country. You created us to be free, teach is how to hold to compassion through anger.

    February 12, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. leon peterson

    I am glad someone is standing up for freedom.

    February 12, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Melinda

    Put me in – list me as plaintiff plz!

    February 12, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. RJ

    So shouldn't Bush be a defendant since he started it? The republicans have managed to place blame for the NSA entirely on Obama even though it is their own doing. All at a time when republicans were desperate for something to potentially save them come next elections. Should have Obama stopped it? Sure. Doesn't mean we should ignore who started such a breach of rights in the first place. Don't like the NSA? Don't vote republican.

    February 12, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. Steve Dunlap

    Congratulations are in order. I fully support this action.

    February 12, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Anthony Castellano

    Rand is 100% right on this issue and it's not even a left, right, Democratic or Republican issue, it's a privacy issue and an American issue. I know most of Obama's supporters will either shrug or side with him on this issue, despite the fact that they were critical of the Bush admin for doing the same thing. Can you say hypocrisy? Well, it's time we as AMERICANS push back and demand serious action in this unacceptable overreach from the federal Gov.

    February 12, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. Jeff Gilbert

    Evil will triumph when good men stand silent

    Count my voice with yours

    Go get them !!!

    February 12, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. rino

    Right issue, wrong guy and wrong time. Rand Paul has shon himself to be a low life, who in tha past week tried to get as much air time as he could, he really beleives only in getting his shot at 2016, Paul is doing a very big disservice to this cause. Now lets get the economy going right , then we take of the cause. Paul should take up now the cause of inequality or something like that. But truly Paul is a low life. He is not leader material.

    February 12, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Name Karen Czarnowsky

    Finally someone from the Repbulican Party who is listening to us with some balls

    February 12, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. sharon wyman

    I'll sign

    February 12, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. Melody Black

    I want to join the law suite against Obama. WHere do I sign up?

    February 12, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    tom l

    rs and Rudy,
    So it was reported on CNN by Erin Burnett, big guy.
    Stop making a fool of yourself. I have not seen her article, but all that I seen on the topic that have been released in the last 24 hours do not say anything of what you suggest. They talk about a drone attack on a U.S. citizen who is suspected of being closely affilitated with Al Qaeda.

    The administration is NOT conspiring with Al Qaeda. This is how right wing lies and distorted facts get out. Remember what I told you last week about how people see what they want to see, instead of what is actually in front of them?

    February 12, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. NameKathy Mccain

    I Pray that you succeed. ..It's about time we do something...Anything is a better than...Nothing. ...!...

    February 12, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. sandra lofton

    I would also like to sign up to join the lawsuit against Obama. 601-734-6871. Thanks and please let me know what I need to do.

    February 12, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. Ingrid

    Good luck,i trust you!Thank you for doing something for us!We need good peoble like you!!!!

    February 12, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. Jason Kennedy

    Here, here. Count me in.

    February 12, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  23. Sha Lym

    Americans are afraid to join this because we would be put on "the lists". Are we going to be audited or something if we do? Lost my trust in the system.

    February 12, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. Bee

    I wish Bush could be added to this. Bush and Obama are equally to blame at this point.

    I'd love to join this!

    February 12, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. Nancy Kiser

    It's really time we stood up to the bureaucracy and remind them that the taxpayers pay their salaries. We need them to stand up for the people and I believe they Rand Paul does just that. Thank you, Rand Paul

    February 12, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
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