On Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) finally put his money where his mouth is. Paul had been threatening a lawsuit against the National Security Agency for months. The Kentucky senator officially filed a class-action lawsuit against NSA, the Obama administration and various other security officials regarding the violation of the Fourth Amendment via surveillance programs that have come to light because of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations.
Paul made the announcement on Wednesday.
Paul has asked others to join him in his class-action lawsuit, which you can do at DefendtheFourth.com.
In a video hosted on Senator Paul’s YouTube channel, the senator spoke about the need to defend the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans just a day prior to filing his lawsuit.
“Our founders never intended for Americans to trust their government” Paul said. “Our entire Constitution was predicated on the entire notion that government was a necessary evil to be restrained and minimized as much as possible.”
Paul said that a “serious constitutional question” was posed once it was revealed that the NSA was collecting data on every American last year.
In speaking about the inclusion of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, Paul said it was to keep from having “general warrants” and “blanket authority” given to the federal government to spy on its citizens at will.
“Individualized suspicions of citizens’ records is precisely the kind of overreach we fought a revolution over,” Paul said. “The colonists did not appreciate a British government that would go door to door searching anyone and everyone without probably cause or suspicion.”
Senator Paul said that the lesson of the American Revolution is that these things should never happen. Yet, the NSA’s abuse of power in collecting data on Americans without following the Fourth Amendment is the modern equivalent of England’s tyranny during the 18th century.
Paul also corrected Barack Obama, who referenced Paul Revere in his speech. “Paul Revere rode through the streets to tell us the British were coming, not the Americans are coming.”
“The Constitution is not a negotiable piece of parchment to be ignored or abused at the president’s whim,” Paul continued. “Washington leaders are expected to obey and protect what they took an oath to uphold, and if this means taking them to court over it, so be it.”
Paul then added, “If the seizure and surveillance of American’s phone records across the board is now considered a legitimate security precaution, there is literally no protection of any kind, guaranteed to any American citizen. We cannot allow this administration to continue to treat the Constitution as a dead letter.”
Seantor Paul’s comments and lawsuit come at a time when various states are pushing to cut the head off the NSA by shutting off their water and electricity; among those are Maryland, Vermont, Tennessee, California and Utah. Founder of Judicial Watch Larry Klayman has also been taking on the NSA with a lawsuit.
The only problem arising now, it appears, is that instead of the attack being centered on a tyrannical government, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank is reporting that constitutional attorney Bruce Fein is complaining that Paul used his intellectual work in the construction of his lawsuit.
A Paul advisor said Fein was paid $15,000 and that “multiple attorneys” were involved in the complaint. Behind the scenes, Paul’s team reacted angrily to Fein’s accusations.
Doug Stafford, Paul’s top political operative, sent Fein an e-mail Wednesday afternoon saying he expected Fein would be involved in the future, but he criticized Fein for complaining publicly. “That is crazy and makes no sense if your interest is to work as part of the team. None,” he wrote.
As far as I’m concerned that issue is between them (though doesn’t appear that many are concerned with the plagiarism of Barack Obama), but the bigger issue of the NSA’s criminal actions is one all Americans, no matter your political leanings, should get behind.
Encourage your state legislature to pass legislation to cut the lifeblood off from the NSA. Model legislation can be found at the Tenth Amendment Center and is also being led by OffNow.org.
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