GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul has called for limiting the NSA’s powers even more after it emerged that the spy agency has been snooping on members of Congress.
“I’m appalled by it, and this is exactly why we need more NSA reform, and the debate in Washington now has unfortunately been going the other way.” the Senator urged, appearing on Fox News.
“Since the San Bernardino shooting everyone is saying ‘oh we need more surveillance of Americans.” Paul added.
“In reality what we need is more targeted surveillance.” Paul declared.
“I’m not against surveillance, but I am against indiscriminate surveillance, and also this is not unusual,” Paul added, explaining that the NSA has long been trawling the communications of Americans when listening to foreign ‘targets’.
It emerged yesterday that the Obama administration took the decision to eavesdrop on foreign dignitaries, while the president declared that surveillance programs were being curtailed.
As the communications of allies such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were monitored, so were their interactions with US members of Congress, as well as American private interest groups with links to the foreign leaders.
One unnamed US officials revealed the the Wall St Journal that the practice “raised fears—an ‘Oh-s— moment,’ that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress.”
The Obama administration were wary of this and so simply allowed the NSA to decide what to share, without making any specific requests.
“We didn’t say, ‘Do it,’ ” a senior U.S. official said. “We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it.’ ”
“It’s an invasion of our privacy. You can see how it would stifle free speech if you are going to eavesdrop on our Congressmen, and that it might stifle what they say or who they communicate with.” Rand Paul warned
“This is a big problem, and it’s not a new one, and we absolutely need more controls on the NSA and more controls on our intelligence agencies.” the Senator added.
Paul also spoke about the upcoming GOP debate, saying that he is confident he will make the cut for the next debate.
“There was a national poll out this week that had me in fifth place, only one point out of fourth place,” he said, adding “I don’t think it’s fair to have an artificial distinction.”
Paul also stated that he does not feel that candidates like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich and Carly Fiorina should be excluded, noting that he is “concerned about fairness.”