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. Tony in Maine

    It may be time for President Obama to become the Evil Muslim Dictator that Rand Paul's devoted sycophants think he is. Paul really needs to be toilet trained.

    February 11, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. wiseup:

    Rand Paul is in same classless group of Louis Gohmert and Ted Cruz. they like to talk just to hear themselves talk. the T Party is gradually losing leverage within the republican party. They have no idea how to govern only to obstruct every issue brought to vote. paul is complaing about nsa surveillance procedures and should be changed. But heaven forbid another terrorists attacked would occur. Paul and other libertarians would want to know why the NSA and Obama let it happened and why they missed the intel.

    February 11, 2014 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. Curran

    It's about time. For the health of the republic, things need to be brought into the light!

    February 11, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  4. Namelinda

    Rand Paul has baggage just like the Clintons. If you check his background you just might find some KKKs running around. He will never become President because the vast majority of Black and Hispanics will not vote for him. His father is nothing but baggage. We will never forget what is family has always stood for. No minorities allowed!

    February 11, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  5. DrMerica

    Rand Paul can not win this, we have been under the NSA's watch since it's creation in the 70's. If you think not then take a peak in your rear view mirror

    February 11, 2014 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  6. Name

    Please just go away

    February 11, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  7. VoteForPedro

    This guy is officially a wackjobb.
    So this is the GOP's next big white hope?

    February 11, 2014 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  8. Chris-E...al

    Rand Paul is a true country man. YeS the 1 we live in. u.s.a.. ? i kn0w this affair stuff with Bill an that Jezabell makes go0d sence about his wife Hillarys lack of judgment? N.S.A. we probly never n0 realy? i do n0 bills wife hilly came up with this healthcare mess that she cant deny years ag0!. An Al G0re profitted off that globe warming J0kE. ha. I n0 bill GAvE China sensivtive missle tech.. i n0 they l0ve sending 0ur tax m0ney 2 dictat0rs like Morsi! t0 name 1 f0r time sake. n .s. a . we need them but n0t g0od win they tread 2 go0d int0 our private life here at h0me. thank y0u .and cnn .

    February 11, 2014 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. deee510

    The more air time rand Paul gets the more he exposes how silly he is. He thinks Americans will vote him to be president because Hillary Clinton husband had an affair 20 yrs ago, and he files law suits

    February 11, 2014 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  10. JNB

    Good luck with that. This is about Rand Paul, not the NSA.

    February 11, 2014 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  11. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    CNN, please continue to report on this man's lunacy. The country needs to actually see how daft he is!

    February 11, 2014 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  12. yogi

    Not only will Paul be at odds with the GOP over the NSA, he will also be at odds with the majority of the American people who would never vote for for this character in 2016. It seems he is contemplating a run because he is making a lot of noise, with the emphasis on noise.

    February 11, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  13. Jesse

    Good someone has too

    February 11, 2014 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  14. Thomas

    The Aqua Buddha will litigate his way to power !

    Randy Paul / Marco Rubio
    2016 is the year of the Monkey

    February 11, 2014 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  15. Rita

    J. Edgar Hoover spied on Everyone All the time....anyone who has a cell phone is spied on and that's the way it's been for the past decade....poor litttle Rand Paul wants to sue Obama because he thinks it'll get him votes.....sorry, Rand go back to Kentucky and do something about the dirty polluted drinking water...you don't want the EPA to exist, you don't want the government intrusion, you want the supoort of the John Birch Society and the KKK, and forget about votes from intelligent women!

    February 11, 2014 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  16. Dave in Arizona

    And yet no inclusion of the congressmen who passed the Patriot Act into law, nor Bush who signed it and enforced it for many years.

    Yet more evidence that Republicans are all show; going after the administration only and none others who would be logically responsible for the acts being condemned.

    February 11, 2014 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  17. tony

    Repub Senator sues President Bush to overturn the Patriot Act?

    How Unpatriotic? Or is that Patriotic?

    February 11, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  18. Teflondon

    What a waste of time and money! The bill of rights was written before email, instant gram , and Facebook. If you are not involved in terrorist activity why should you be worried about the NSA. The funny thing is if we had a domestic terror attack that the Government could not prevent. Dumb Paul would be spear heading multiple inquiries.....

    February 11, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  19. Peter

    George W. Bush is not included in the lawsuit?

    He started the program.

    February 11, 2014 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  20. Moke Fulkme

    He should also sue whoever cut his hair. I may need to gouge out my own eyes, now.

    February 11, 2014 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  21. tet1953

    I am all for what he is doing, but I thought SCOTUS had already weighed in on it for the most part.

    February 11, 2014 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  22. Epiphany

    Rand Paul's frivolous lawsuit against Presidentmis all about PR attention, nothing more and nothing less. He knew his number is tanking for 2016 Presidemtialmticket and his popularitymslowlymdippingmin Kemtucky as a incompetent senator.

    February 11, 2014 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  23. sameeker

    I think I will sue Bu$h over Iraq and TARP.

    February 11, 2014 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  24. Michael

    Rand Paul is a clown, curly wig and all...

    February 11, 2014 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  25. Eral coil

    About time, they need to get clapper for lying straight up to congress and protect the rights to privacy, I feel it is a violation of our rights and does not help significantly enough to warrant such a gross overreach of servailance. Although I personally believe rand Paul will fail not because he isn't right but die to the corporate and political corruption already in place in congress, the Supreme Court and the senators.

    February 11, 2014 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
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