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. Richard

    He is really piling it on. Making all kinds of disparaging remarks and I really hope he gets the republican nod for the presidency. I predict Hilary will shellac him and after that he will go into oblivion!

    February 12, 2014 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  2. Warren

    So now he want to spend tax payers money in court defending something he has no chance of winning??

    February 12, 2014 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  3. Darrell

    Rand Paul is such an idiot, how did these nuts make it in politics, he is a fake, always was, if only people would catch him talking on a microphone after he talks, listen to all his crap, people would see he is not for the people, he is for himself period!, he is not that smart, I know I would not want this guy making decisions of national security, he would get on his knee's to ask for help, Its hard to tell who is the bigger nut, Christi or Rand Paul

    February 12, 2014 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  4. keven

    Yes! Only billion dollar (republican) corporations should be allowed to monitor your internet and phone data!
    How dare the government try to protect us from another 9/11 !!!

    February 12, 2014 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    What a crock. This guy is playing politics 24/7. And I thought Ted Cruz loved being in the spotlight. Geesh!

    February 12, 2014 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  6. Steve

    It's nice to see that Senator Paul is standing up for the Constitution.

    February 12, 2014 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  7. Randyk

    Well, this weirdo sure knows the tricks for keeping his name in the news.

    February 12, 2014 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  8. Malory Archer

    In other words, mr. libertarian is going to force the taxpayers to pony up countless millions defending itself over something that has been taking place for decades. Would he be suing the government if there was a rethug in the WH? Of course not, and edward snowden would have been "dealt with" before he had a chance to leave the country.

    February 12, 2014 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  9. Brad

    Oh Good Paul, anything to make Obama look bad! UNFORTUNATELY It's YOU that looks like a fool wasting taxpayers money on crap like this.

    February 12, 2014 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  10. rino

    Hello my name is Rand Paul and there is no dept of depravity that I will not go to get media attention. I will spend my time obessing about winning rather then helping the amrican people. I promise that I will continu to serve you in this fashion for the rest of my life.

    February 12, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  11. Zach

    There is one true American hero left. Rand Paul 2016!

    February 12, 2014 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  12. Name Paladin

    He needs to sue Bush not Obama.

    February 12, 2014 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  13. James D

    Yeah we elected this guy so he could spend tax payer money to sue our president over a law that was passed under Bush.

    Couldn't pay me to vote this guy for president.

    February 12, 2014 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  14. Mdap90

    The problem is today its phone records, no problem I agree. Tomorrow it will be them picking people off the street for no reason and placing them in jail. For once I agree with Mr. Paul nip this in the butt right now if we can.

    February 12, 2014 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  15. sfarris

    I am surprised Rand Paul doesn't sue everyone else for breathing his air. Wait, time to bash on John Weiner, gotta go! 😉

    February 12, 2014 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  16. Guest

    Wonder if ole Randi will also sue Bush, Jr and Dick Cheney? If he is seriously upset about NSA and not just on a witch hunt or a quest for public attention he will, if he does not this activity shows him to be exactly what I have thought him to be all along, a fake and a fraud (no he is not really a physician, he never passed all of his boards, I've worked in healthcare for over 30 years, no way on this earth would I let a physician who had not passed all of the boards in his field treat me or any member of my family).

    February 12, 2014 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  17. TommyT

    Simply a jerk... And a complete airhead.. He and Snowden should both stay in Russia ( wheres theres no security, hmmm) ...embarrassed that either one of these simpletons has anything to do with US operations....

    February 12, 2014 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  18. wayne

    why dont these politicians try to fix problems, unemployment, homeless, budget, this NSA stuff. If you remember when you first purchased a cell phone they stated that your calls would be like any other broadcast through the air, anyone smart enough can intercept and listen. Americans did it to Direct TV for years, receiving there TV illegally but that is Ok? If you have something to hide or secure do not use your cell phone or WIFI, these things broadcast though free air.. Landlines are more secure for this....Politicians help us dontj ust try to grab glamore from highly visible problems of the misinformed.

    February 12, 2014 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  19. 2L

    I thought you need permission to sue the fed govt?

    February 12, 2014 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  20. Swedge70

    "Never in American history has there been such a warrantless gathering of citizens information."
    Unless, of course, you count the time under president Bush, when these policies were actually enacted. We all knew it was happening then, so why do you suppose it is these Republicans weren't upset about it until now?

    February 12, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  21. Fish

    So now the Paul family is suing the government??? Somebody should sue the Paul family for all the money they have taken from our government as it was obviously wasteful spending!!!

    February 12, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  22. tru2americafirst

    Oh what an idiot. He must, like most tea baggers and the GOP'ers forget that all this started with GW Bush and his ILLEGAL so called "Patriot Act" forced upon American citizens in 2001\2002. How convenient. They forget all the American civilians and soldiers murdered by terrorists. They yell about "America beiNg SAFE" but refuse to allow America and her people to actually do what is necessary to protect America. They leak National security tactics and methods that can help deter terrorism and cut funding to protect embassies then turn around yell when someone attacks Americans. Besides, if I'm not doing anything illegal, you can listen to every call I make (though that IS NOT what happens), and frankly those who would deny methods needed to catch terrorists are no better than the terrorists themselves and are setting us all up for future attacks because they have nothing better to do to get attention. What a loser!

    February 12, 2014 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  23. Siestasis

    With Rand Paul and Snowden who needs foreign enemies, we grew them right here at home.

    February 12, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    "They considered it government overreach in the fight against terrorism."

    Until the next act of terrorism, when they will be suing for answers.


    February 12, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  25. Bob M

    I am pleased to see so many posts opposed to Rand Paul. We have so much hypocrisy in America due to the rants of politicians such as Paul, Cruz and Rubio. As Americans, we voluntarily provide significant private information to large (Republican??) corporations. Yet, we are now concerned about government surveillance which has been done for years and enhanced by Bush and Cheney. Americans do not want another 911. If NSA surveillance helps prevent another terrorist attack, I am all for it. It is obvious from all the posts that most people support the work of the NSA. Rand Paul is an idiot to think that he can successfully sue the NSA and Obama. He is wasting our time and money on frivolous lawsuits that have no basis and are opposed by most Americans.

    February 12, 2014 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
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