Rand Paul says he might sue government
June 9th, 2013
10:45 AM ET
9 years ago

Rand Paul says he might sue government

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said Sunday he's looking into suing the federal government in the wake of what has been a tumultuous week for the Obama administration and National Security Agency.

"I'm going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I'm going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies; ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit," Paul said on FOX News Sunday.

"If we get 10 million Americans saying, 'We don't want our phone records looked at' then maybe someone will wake up and things will change in Washington."

The controversy began this week after multiple published reports said the NSA has been mining the phone and Internet records of both U.S. citizens and people around the world in a quest to prevent terrorist attacks.

President Obama addressed the issue Friday, saying the information gathered is extremely broad and that the government isn't monitoring the content of the data or people's names unless they have probable cause and a warrant.

But Paul said this data collection is by no means a modest invasion of privacy and in fact may even weaken America's counterterrorism operations.

"We are looking through so much data that I think it makes our fight against terrorism worse," Paul said.

In the end, Paul - known as a strong proponent of civil liberties - said this intelligence-gathering strategy is simply a step too far.

"I think the American people are with me and I think if you talk to young people who use computers on a daily basis, they are absolutely with me," Paul said.

Filed under: NSA • Rand Paul
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. Jasper P. Colingsworth, VI

    Hey, pkrbkr3
    "Rand Paul doesn't know what he's talking about...." That's pretty funny :]

    June 9, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Count me in – but please protect us. You are my Senator – but now we know that even communicating with you might be hazardous to our families. I am a Blue Star Mom. Bless you and your family, Senator Paul. This is all way beyond my wildest imagination. As the granddaughter of immigrants (early 20th Century and daughter of WWII hero, Freedom has always been precious and cherished – and we are actively patriotic Americans, never doing anything to undermine security. Senator Paul, I backed off of signing up with Blue Star mothers because I was concerned the lists could get into the wrong hands and endanger family. What communication system is SAFE today? Please advise. We just really want to be productive, family and community – oriented positive citizens raising healthy generations for a healthy and on-going America. Has anyone really learned the lesson of Rome and Greece – and Nazi Germany? It is shocking.

    God bless you and your family. Please keep up the good work. You are in my prayers. We need more leaders who are willing to question and take firm stands to protect freedom and personal liberty. I understand what this means, but it was provided for by our Constitution. I would like the Constitutionality of this all considered by the

    June 9, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. jlsnader

    "I don't mind people watching me because I have nothing to hide"

    Why don't we slap a couple surveillance cameras in the public bathrooms, after all, it's for you own good, right?

    Here's the point: If you had an authority who only looked at those cameras when they absolutely had to (in order to catch an attacker, thief, etc) it may be ok, but the issue is, what about when some pervert comes along and gets access to those same camera's? That's everyone's fear. So it is with the gov't. IF we knew without a shadow of a doubt that they will only use that info to catch criminals, it may be ok (still seems spooky). The problem comes when the precedent for this snooping is set and accepted, and the government suddenly decides your religion or your political bias doesn't meet it's agenda (IRS,anyone?) Who defines bad? the gov't? Wake up folks! They are using so called "security" as a back door into what we know as "tyranny."

    June 9, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. Titus pullo

    The bill of rights trumps and so called war on terror. If we have to destroy our natural rights to "protect" ourselves the bad guys have won. And let's be honest, we are not even looking at our foreign policy. This wilsonian make the world safe for democracy , central banks, and Goldman Sachs policy does more to endanger the us than anything. Follow the advice of Washington, Jefferson, and Madison. No foreign entanglements. As Madison said, the biggest threat to liberty is govt using real or pretended foreign threats to take our freedom away. Rand is right, the neocons need to be sent back to Canada or whatever commie nation they came from.

    June 9, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. muneymom

    I'll sign..I may not have anything to hide, and heck rarely use my phone, other than to talk to my mom or childrens school...but that isn't the point..The point is, what about our privacy and the constitution. All those saying it isn't a big deal, sit back do nothing but don't whine and cry, when it comes to putting cameras in your home and your car to monitor you 24/7, all "for our protection"

    June 9, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Michael Moore

    Rand Paul is the one politician in corrupt Washington D.C. that is standing up for ALL Americans' rights. As a registered Democrat, I am completely on board with Rand. The Democrat party has done nothing but let me down time after time. As president, Obama is proving to be just as big of a tyrant as G.W. Bush ever was. To hell with the lifetime politicians. Go Rand!!

    June 9, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. Randy Kirby

    WOW after reading some of the replys on here it is clear why America is in such SAD shape now. Every govt elected official in Congress should be recalled for violation of Oath of Office. Each one has broken the laws either by doing it or knowing about it and hiding it from the American people. It is not about Dem or Repub any more its about standing together and taking our country back from these senseless careless people.

    June 9, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. Phil

    They won the last election with data. They identified those who they might be able to sway, and used that information against them. I can only imagine how they may use the phone records info.

    June 9, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Phil

    Personal attacks do not deal with the issues. Of course, you must be able to recognize an issue to deal with it.

    June 9, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  10. Sheriff

    I'm amaze at the ignorance of some who commented here. You guys may not care about this intrusion of power because you have no clue about history. Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers were more educated about history than you do today in 2013. Thomas Jefferson once said, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

    You keep giving the government more and more power and allow it to intrude more and more, and before you know it, it turns tyrannical on you. This already happening with IRS now being able to target certain groups. There are many example where when one spoke against government, they get arrested. In fact, I remember this story from Fahrenheit 911 when an elderly man spoke against the war in Iraq to a friend in the Gym and FBI came to his door and arrested him.

    Right now, the Government is still in check. But what if the next president ask for even more invasions and more power against you. This is just history repeating itself. It happened in Rome, it happened in several other countries more recently than Rome. Please study history!

    June 9, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. justsaying

    Uhm no one complained when the Republican Pres GW Bush gave the NSA this type of carte-blanche through the Patriot Act...just saying

    June 9, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. Rick Sheley

    No one is ever aloud to check my phone records! Leave my constitutional rights alone!

    June 9, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  13. Annee

    So you have nothing to hide and you don't mind the government reading your e-mail? Well I have nothing to hide but resent the heck out of the Illegal Intrusion to my private life. I don’t like being watched 24/7. I don’t like having my mail read. I don’t like living in a George Orwell’s 1984 world. I don’t think the government needs to know if I e-mail my Dad or best friend and say I hate my neighbor because he ran over my dog. I don’t need the FBI watching me because I hate my neighbor at the moment. What we say is usually a “figure of speech” it does not mean I am going to kill my neighbor because he killed my dog. In fact my neighbor is a great person and helps us a lot. 90% of the people in the USA are good people and know right from wrong and act accordingly, they don’t need to be spied on or watch. The US government has become corrupted beyond all common sense. Paul Ryan usually has some good ideas.

    June 9, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  14. Steve

    Is this polling data for a campaign decision? Why 10 million? Wouldn't 5 million be enough? Or 1 million? Even 500K? How about nobody signs his poll or petition but instead he force the Federal government to observe the U.S. Constitution – particularly the 4th amendment? How dare they ignore this document. How dare Paul insinuate we need 10 million people to persuade the Feds to obey the law.

    June 9, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  15. Len

    Next President of the US.....Not!!!

    June 9, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  16. Dan

    Is he trying to claim he didn't know this was going on? Man's a bigger idiot than we thought if he thinks he could pull that.

    June 9, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  17. NameScott

    Please go away MR paul your 15 min of fame is over.

    June 9, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. Mario

    How Rand Paul going to PAY for this law suit ? Let me guest our Tax $$$$$$

    June 9, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  19. Tj

    So, fighting for the Constitution is no longer something Americans want? You have nothing to hide, I have nothing to hide, everyone has nothing to hide, so that makes the monitoring of our personal cell phones, and internet related uses okay for the government?

    "The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
    Thomas Jefferson
    Third President of the United States

    "They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    Ben Franklin
    American Statesman

    Founding fathers said it well. So go ahead, keep saying I have nothing to hide, nothing to fear, and allow the government to continue to overstep the Boundaries of the U.S. Constitution, for sooner or later, you will lose those rights, and once lost, are hard to gain back, short of another revolution.

    As, for me, I want to put an end to the Government overstepping their boundaries, and infringing upon MY rights as a US Born Citizen.

    June 9, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  20. Greg in Arkansas

    Law suit.....=:
    Hire lawyers at taxpayer expense to prosecute
    Hire lawyers at taxpayer expense to defend
    Tie up the courts at taxpayer expense
    WHERE WILL IT ALL END...???....I thought Rand was for less Govt spending

    June 9, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. PaulCat

    Ok Rand Paul, this is just another reason you could never become president of the United States.

    June 9, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Mr. Paul is using this as a way to build his list of potential supporters for his run for President. Next he will send out request for donations to all the people signing up for this fake lawsuit. Introduce a bill to repeal or modifying the Patroit Act Mr. Paul.

    June 9, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  23. ja

    do these guys know what they are signing off, why is this making headlines,

    June 9, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  24. Herman

    This clown has got to go. The next time voting occurs in this cretin's area of the country, the people of that area will be judged by his either getting elected or ousted from office. If he get's reelected, the area responsible needs to have all contact with the outside world halted. They are dangerous.

    June 9, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  25. GonzoinHouston

    The real scandal here is that all of this, the data mining, the secret subpoenas, all of it, is perfectly legal. It was voted into law with bi-partisan support. The Patriot Act was passed under W and extended by Obama, and both were wrong. Rand wants to sue? No, Rand should make like a legislator and work on getting these laws repealed. We allowed our government to turn many of our Constitutional rights into mere privileges in a state of fear, and government rarely gives up power without major voter pressure. Please pardon my shouting, but REPEAL THE PATRIOT ACT.

    June 9, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
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