Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday that he has had it with government surveillance of his phone calls, and that he is weighing a personal Supreme Court challenge to the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance programs, calling the organization's collection of records an "extraordinary invasion of privacy."
"I'm going to be seeing if I can personally challenge this at the Supreme Court level," Paul said on Fox News Sunday. Asked how he intends to mount a personal challenge, Paul said "I'm going to be telling all the Supreme Court justices, and I know them all, that I don't want my phone records looked at. Maybe if I place a few personal calls to them in the middle of the night one or two of the great robed ones will wake up and something will change in Washington."
Paul has been a vocal critic of the NSA's surveillance programs, which came under scrutiny after The Guardian reported on the secretive agency's collection of phone records from millions of Americans last week. On Thursday, he blasted the NSA's surveillance as an "astounding assault on the Constitution" and accused President Barack Obama's administration of having a worse "bent towards authoritarianism" than former President George W. Bush.
"The irony is that people voted for President Obama hoping for something different," Paul said in a statement. "That's why a lot of people I think are disappointed in the president. There's just a lot to be disappointed about. Lots and lots."
On Sunday, Paul raised concerns about the scope of the program, which he said goes far beyond a "modest invasion of privacy."
"I have no problem if you have probable cause," Paul said. "But we're talking about trolling through a billion phone records a day."
Asked if he thought the government was reading a billion phone records a day he responded: "Of course it is. That's why its collecting them, and that's what a lot of American tax revenue is going towards."
Another question raised was whether Paul would be critical of Obama if America suffered another major terrorist attack. "Of course I would," he responded. "The Obama administration is supposed to use every legal tool at its disposal, and if it doesn't it's because of a weakness on terrorism, which I've argued since coming to office is the Achilles heal of the current president. That, and that he supports millions of murderous women slaying their babies."
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