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. Steven

    Doesn't this only cost the tax payers, I don't agree with the NSA, but seriously this is just a political stunt to gain presidential support. Why waste tax payer time and money to prove something America already knows is wrong. He says, "America will win." Win what when you are forcing our government to go to court. Tax money pays court fees.

    February 12, 2014 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  2. Ajax

    This guy is an unbelievable troublemaker. He is a throwback to the vicious southern Democratic senators of another century.

    February 12, 2014 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  3. Andrew

    What a joke for the phony-fake pretenders. Who cares what Rand Paul does? I don't, it means absolutely nothing and never will.He's a tea party stooge with brain damage for goodness sakes. What a joke.

    February 12, 2014 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  4. BorisRoberts

    Yeah, he should sue, and I should join him, because i sure as hell don't want them listening to me order a pizza on my phone. Or call in sick to work. Or talk to telemarketers.

    February 12, 2014 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  5. Chris

    Just as nuts as his old man was!!!

    February 12, 2014 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  6. is this even our government?

    well...sometimes that's what it takes. sad. but it is what it is. good for him.

    February 12, 2014 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  7. TJ Patriot

    This is great, even though I don't agree with corporatist democrats or republicans (so essentially every elected official), we have GOT to end the NSA. This police state must end now.

    February 12, 2014 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  8. is this even our government?

    sue apple, google, and the rest of the spies also.

    February 12, 2014 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  9. Mark

    Rand Paul is weenie.

    February 12, 2014 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  10. I told you so

    This may make it to the courts in say ....... 20 years.

    February 12, 2014 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  11. Steven Dodge

    I am for this!

    February 12, 2014 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  12. Jeff6187

    Ru Paul (sorry ... RAND Paul ... I always confuse the two) is just another conservative nobody trying desperately to make a name for himself in politics. And as we all know, if you have no talent, you bash high profile people. It's not really public service ... but it earns the same salary!

    February 12, 2014 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  13. Not an idiot xian

    Is he planning on putting Dubya in prison for starting Iraq over ABSOLUTELY NOTHING and getting all those US citizens killed?

    February 12, 2014 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  14. wesscott2014

    It is a rare day when I find myself in agreement with Rand Paul or the Tea Party, but this is one instance where they have their priorities straight. I just hope they realize that this all started under Nixon, got a lot bigger under Reagan and exploded out of proportion under Bush II, and that Obama is just the latest President to allow illegal intrusion into the privacy rights of Americans by our agencies that are supposed to protect our rights, liberties and freedoms.

    February 12, 2014 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  15. Justin

    Great job..... Finally someone is standing up for our civil liberties. The shameful thing is that the left will probably call Rand Paul racist. It is a sorry state of affairs in this nation when a tyrannical regime, figureheaded by an unabashed liar with the worst human rights record since Andrew Jackson is tolerated. Finally someone who will actually facilitate hope and change.

    February 12, 2014 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  16. Iamnotfooled

    A Desperate man. How much is this going to cost?

    February 12, 2014 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  17. Scott

    I hope this suit is being paid out of his own pocket and not by his office since this is his personal crusade to sue one President over a former President's actions.

    February 12, 2014 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  18. Logician

    I agree with this guy overall. Just wish the Republicans hadn't pushed through the legislation under Bush to create this situation. First and foremost, the Republicans are to blame for the Patriot Act's overreach for which this is the prime example. Paul needs to also look at his own party for accountability.

    February 12, 2014 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  19. Chris wippert

    What if nsa program took part in tenn bombing to give more reason to cover thier tail for thier wrong doings on u.s people and to keep program alive and keep doing thier people wrong its all one big conspercy theory come on an old 72 year old man thats ready to die of old age lets take him out cuase his almost ready to go anyways . If they was on top of it the bomb never woulda went off in the 1st place . Goverment scandles and cover up hmmm shut the program down

    February 12, 2014 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  20. Marie MD

    Where's he getting the money to do so? Is shrub #43 going to be included in the law suit?
    Does this guy have anything else to do for the betterment of the country?
    Are people from KY gong to re elected this idiot again?
    For someone whose hero is a woman, Aun Rand, who thought that money was the virtue of a society (or something like that) he sure wants his name out there for being a socialist/communist/Nazi!

    February 12, 2014 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  21. Canderson

    For Mr. Paul to bring this lawsuit against our President is ludicrous. Even worse that Mr. Paul is a blatant plagiarist who has very little respect for the law, nor the office of the President. Why he hasn't Mr. Paul included former President Bush in his lawsuit? It was during his tenure the spying program was designed and implemented. Furthermore, Mr. Paul does NOT speak for all "Americans". He really doesn't care what the majority of Americans want. He is only concerned with being making points with the self-centered and miserly Tea Party ideals. A disgrace that he is in public office.

    February 12, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  22. That one guy

    Right, its not a politically motivated law suit at all, this guy is only running for president and obviously he wants to be seen as a 'champion of the people.' Which, if he needs to try and be seen in that light he obviously is not.

    February 12, 2014 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  23. Minnie Mouse

    If you want a real case and are concerned about people rights and privacy, then go for the "Internet".This has taken everyone rights away. Nothing is secure, no one has any privacy, all of your personal information, where you live, your address, phone number, marriage, divorces, deaths, medical records, your entire neighborhood ect... can be looked up or someone can pay to get it and if they can't do either of those they there are plenty of hackers. Your wasting your time with the NSA because there is no privacy anywhere.

    February 12, 2014 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  24. Amistavia

    My political views are about as different as you can get from Rand Paul's. However on this issue he is completely right. An unchecked government can be much more dangerous than any terrorists.

    February 12, 2014 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  25. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Dopey Rant Paul , loser Cuccinelli and the tea potty. Radical extremist wingnuts involved,ALWAYS follow the money.

    February 12, 2014 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
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