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. lcleejr1356

    so typical, another right winger that hates president obama because he won twice. if all paul can do is whine and complain shows there is not much substance to him he can babble all he wants.....

    February 11, 2014 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  2. lcleejr1356

    unless a person has something to hide, why worry. rand paul should be trying to get our country moving forward instead of whining and complaining

    February 11, 2014 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  3. maggie

    you forgot about Mcarthyism, blacklisting, the 60's where FBI survailing everyone and their dog....cause the dog could be a communist for walking in a peace parade.....but I do agree that we are more observed in all ways than we ever have been before but that is only due to technology....;if gov cia fbi had these tools in the 50's they would have used them then.....

    February 11, 2014 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  4. jrs1972

    sue them? its a start i guess but some people need to end up in prison for 313.9 million 4th amendment violations

    February 11, 2014 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  5. Tappy Mcwidestance

    Rand has the Cooch on his side. What could go wrong? Except of course that the Supreme Court has already said the NSA program is legal and Rand will have to prove he personally has been harmed or he has no legal standing.. What does Rand gain by humiliating himself and the GOP in court? If he had any balls he'd convince the House to impeach Obama.

    February 11, 2014 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  6. S. B. Stein

    Does he actually have standing to sue? I understand his concern. There should be more restrictions, but for him to do it himself seems to smack of political desire to show he can do anything.

    February 11, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  7. bribarian

    Rand Paul is an American hero.

    February 11, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  8. jimkron

    How is this "fiscal conservative" going to pay for this?

    February 11, 2014 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  9. Seattle Sue

    Will Bush, Cheney and all the others in that administration be included in that suit? Heaven help us if this radical idiot ever becomes President.

    February 11, 2014 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  10. The REAL TRUTH...

    Really.. how can an officer of the Federal Govt sure that Govt for laws that were legally put in place.. it's a dumb, symbolic move and will not stand up in court.. but hey.. the whiny gate gets the oil right...

    February 11, 2014 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  11. wendel

    well this will really make the tea bag repos look like nuts. so much for this clown running for president; Vote them all out

    February 11, 2014 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  12. Peter

    I'm glad somebody is standing up for our rights, but, please not this team.

    February 11, 2014 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  13. tina

    Do he have some kind of mental problum. I can not see this man being President.

    February 11, 2014 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  14. Jimmy Joe Bob

    Why does it seem like Paul is always looking for attention?

    February 11, 2014 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  15. Jimmy Joe Bob

    Rand Paul is so staved for attention, he'll probably filibuster himself next.

    February 11, 2014 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  16. mark hensley

    Rand Paul.,following in his nutty fathers footsteps.

    February 11, 2014 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  17. OldSchool

    Yay more Paul family insanity!

    February 11, 2014 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  18. Chris-E...al

    Custermer service pays thb bills.

    February 11, 2014 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  19. happysnacker

    Good for him. Not that anything will happen to this administration. They are above the law or they simply re-write the law to make their lawlessness legal.

    February 11, 2014 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  20. Ron

    Maybe the left and right and lots in the middle can come together on this. I wonder how long the government can keep calling Snowden a traitor when he has the support of millions of Americans who agree and are grateful to him, including Senators, Representatives, former intelligence officers, etc. Too bad Ken Cuccinelli will be lead attorney. BTW I'm mad as hell at Obama about this. But all you Obama haters out there: don't forget that Bush started it, still defends it, and members of both political parties are defending it. Let's pull together as Americans and fight this surveillance.

    February 11, 2014 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  21. Fritz Hohenheim

    If the guy wouldnt have such whacky view on healthcare, I would support him

    February 11, 2014 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  22. Mary Ann

    Rand Paul is the male version of Sarah Palin.Even scarier is that some people are dumb enough to vote for this idiots.

    February 11, 2014 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  23. mlwells

    Why not name GW Bush as well? Afterall, he initiated the surveillance in response to the attacks of 9/11. Oh, wait! It's OK that GWB snooped – a white guy snooping on other white guys (and let's not forget those Muslims!). But, can't have the black President authorizing the gathering of data! It's OK that nearly everyone posts to Facebook or some other social media. It's OK that the medical industry converts our private medical information electronically. It's OK that many of us don't hesitate to carry on conversations over our cellphones while riding the elevator and, literally, a dozen or so absolute strangers can hear both sides of the conversation. Get a life, Rand! NSA has gathered no more private information on your phone calls or internet access than your national merchants (it's called marketing).

    February 11, 2014 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  24. bubba

    Uh, Is Randy Paul running for President? Gee, I wonder ...

    February 11, 2014 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  25. John Keith

    This isn't a partisan issue folks, whether or not you agree with senator Paul, I applaud him for this.

    February 11, 2014 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
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