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  (Source: Columbia Pictures)
Senator Paul says general warrants are unconstitutional and must be stopped

Senator Randall Howard "Rand" Paul (R-Kent.) -- a contender for the White House in 2016 -- feels that the general warrants the the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on virtually every American with a mobile phone or internet are glaringly unconsitutional.  He rebukes the Obama administration's claims that in order to "secure the nation" it is necessary to capture your personal data and save it for 15 years in "temporary" storage

I. U.S. Senator Sues the Obama Administration

Such legal tactics -- treating the entire population as an investigation suspect and issuing a general warrant that covers hundreds of thousands, if not hundreds of millions of people -- have not been used in the U.S. since the British empire used them to try to bring their rebellious colonies back into line prior to the American revolution, Sen. Paul has pointed out.  And more alarmingly, the NSA has suggested that Congress can't be trusted, effectively admitting it spies on Congress for the President and military.


It is well established that the spying program wastes tens of billions a year
in taxpayer dollars with virtually no quantifiable security gains.  To put an end to it, Sen. Paul has joined with a handful of Senate Democrats -- including Sen. Ronald Lee "Ron" Wyden (D-Oreg.), U.S. Senator Bernard "Bernie" Sanders (D-Verm.), Sen. Mark Emery Udall (D-Colo.), Sen. Martin Trevor Heinrich (D-New Mexico), and Senator Patrick Joseph Leahy (D-Verm.) -- to draft legislation that would cut the funding of mass digital warfare campaigns against the American public.

In case the legislative effort fails, Senator Paul also opened a second front in his battle with the NSA today.

Senator Rand Paul and Freedomworks Sue the NSA by jasonmick



Along with Matt Kibbe, president of the conservative/libertarian advocacy FreedomWorks, Senator Paul has filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.



The suit focuses solely on the mining of metadata, which the NSA can use to track Americans' locations, who Americans are calling, and when those calls were placed.  Reports indicate that the NSA captures roughly 99 percent of calling metadata on any given day.  The lawsuit may also be interpreted as covering the data the NSA seizes from popular apps.

Senator Paul corrects the President's creative reinterpretation of Founding Father Paul Revere's ride to warn Americans of British forces, commenting:

The lesson of the American Revolution was that this should never happen again, and yet the NSA's data collection program is the modern equivalent of this practice... Paul Revere rode through the streets to tell us the British were coming, not the Americans are coming.

Paul Revere's ride
Paul Revere was spying for the people, not on the people. [Image Source: History.com]

Ken Cuccinelli is representing the potential class of plaintiffs (the U.S. people) in the case.  Mr. Cuccinelli had previously worked as the attorney general of Virginia, returning to law after coming up short in the gubernatorial race in fall 2013.

Ken Cuccinelli
Ken Cuccinelli will be representing Americans in the case.

The lawsuit is backed by money from both FreedomWorks and the RandPAC, Senator Paul's political action committee (PAC).  Senator Paul is willing to spend, in effect, his own money that could have been used in his potential 2016 presidential run to try to put an end to mass spying.

RandPAC officials state:

We have assembled a legal team and we expect to be opposed by the vast resources of the federal government, yet I am optimistic that we will prevail, because we are seeking to protect a cornerstone of the Constitution.

Freedomworks has disclosed a small financial relationship with Senator Paul.  It donated $5,000 USD during his 2012 Senate campaign, money it says was given due to his support of preserving civil liberties via conservative interpretation of the Constitution.

II. Lawsuits Push Issue Towards Supreme Court

The lawsuit names retiring/resigning NSA chief General Keith Brian Alexander; the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Gen. James Robert Clapper, Jr.; U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Brien Comey, Jr.; and U.S. President Barack Obama as defendants.

Obama

James Clapper

Keith Alexander

James Comey

The defendants: President Obama (top), DNI James Clapper (second), NSA director Keith Alexander (third), and FBI director James Comey (bottom) [Image Source: Reuters (Obama), AP (Clapper), Fox News (Alexander), Bloomberg (Comey)]

Both FreedomWorks and Senator Paul expect the case to be pushed to the U.S. Supreme Court level, as whoever loses at the federal district and appeal circuit level will likely continue to appeal until it reaches there.  They argue that the Supreme Court must offer a clear interpretation of the Fourth Amendment and how it applies to digital searches of Americans.  Comments Sen. Paul:

Ultimately,the Supreme Court will be arbiter of what the Fourth Amendment means.  We need to be asking these questions ... whether we get to [larger questions about the Patriot Act] in the court case I don't know.

They are not alone in the federal courts fight.

Senator Rand Paul
Senator Rand Paul walks on chilly afternoon in Virginia. [Image Source: Getty Images]

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) -- oft viewed as a more liberal counterpart of FreedomWorks, which nonetheless shares a great deal of common ground -- is also pushing a class action lawsuit towards the Supreme Court level.  ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer states to The Washington Post:

We agree that the NSA’s phone-records program is unconstitutional.  Mass surveillance of this kind infringes not just on privacy rights but on the freedoms of speech and association as well. We’ve advanced these arguments in our own lawsuit against the NSA, and over the next few weeks we’ll make them to a federal appeals court.

The ACLU case also focuses on the collection of phone data.

NSA Unchained
[Image Source: ACLU]

However, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in either case could in effect decide the fate of other controversial NSA domestic spying programs.  Currently, the NSA is reportedly working to endanger national security and Americans' finances by actively paying for the sabotage of global encryption.  It is also is accused of harvesting email and internet traffic to spy on Americans.  Last, but not least, it reportedly has been creating automated systems to attack Americans with malware.

Americans who want to get involved with the Freedomworks/Senator Paul class action suit are encouraged to go here to sign up.

Sources: RandPac, Rand Paul on YouTube, FreedomWorks, The Washington Post



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: About time.
By geddarkstorm on 2/12/2014 9:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
Just be glad this isn't the CNN comments section... urrrgh...


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