Even U.S. senators are scared of the run-amok NSA, said Rand Paul on March 19 at the University of California at Berkeley.
Paul, currently running at the front of the pack of GOP presidential hopefuls, won applause and standing ovations for his fiery anti-surveillance-state speech, entitled “The NSA vs. Your Privacy.”
“I am here to tell you…that your rights, especially your rights to privacy, [are] under assault. I’m here to tell you that if you own a cell phone, you’re under surveillance. I’m here to tell you that the NSA believes that equal protection means Americans should be spied upon equally — including Congress. Instead of equal protection, to them, it’s equal disdain. They don’t care if you’re white or black or brown. They care only that everyone must submit to the state. …
“They’re spying on Congress, they’re collecting our data as well. Digest exactly what that means: if Congress is spied upon without their permission, who exactly is in charge of your government?
“I don’t know about you, but that worries me. If the CIA is spying on Congress, who exactly can or will stop them?
“I look into the eyes of senators and I think I see real fear. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but I think I perceive fear of an intelligence community that’s drunk with power, unrepentant, and uninclined to relinquish power. …
“If you have a cell phone you are under surveillance. I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business. …
“The Fourth Amendment is very clear. Warrants must be issued by a judge. Warrants must be specific to the individual; must have your name on it if they want your records; and a single warrant for millions of Americans’ phone records hardly sounds specific to the individual. Warrants are supposed to be based on evidence or probable cause. …Generalized warrants that don’t name an individual and seek to get millions of records [go] against the very fabric of the Fourth Amendment. ….
“The FISA court is a court where the defendant gets no attorney; the debate is shrouded in secrecy. In the FISA court, the NSA can say whatever they want and they are not cross-examined.
“A secret court is not a real court. We must take a stand and demand an end to the secret courts. …
“The question before us is: Will we live as men and woman, will we cower, and will we give up on our liberty?”
Paul further said he intends to call for a bi-partisan independent select committee, styled after the 1975 Church Committee that investigated intelligence agencies’ abuses of power, to investigate the explosion of recent surveillance state abuses.
There’s much more in the 20-minute speech, which can be seen here, along with a 20-minute follow-up discussion.