No pun intended, I’m sure. Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul said that he was “appalled” by the NSA’s surveillance of not just U.S. members of congress, but also Jewish-American groups and Israeli leaders.
Some Paul critics are “appalled” that Paul is appalled over this, saying that he must think members of Congress are “above the law” and should be exempt from widespread surveillance that the NSA implements on all other Americans.
Rand Paul has always been opposed to warrantless wiretapping and indiscriminate surveillance, whether the targets are members of congress or not. This has been one of his main issues for a long time. Earlier this year in May, Paul took to the senate floor in a mini-filibuster attempt over NSA surveillance:
“I will not let the Patriot Act, the most unpatriotic of acts, go unchallenged. The bulk collection of all Americans phone records all of the time is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment.”
Recently, it was revealed that the NSA has been spying specifically on American-Jewish groups, Israeli leaders, and even members of our own congress. Paul is not more outraged now than he was before, just because members of congress are now certain targets of surveillance. Breitbart reported:
“I’m appalled by it,” Paul said on Fox News’ Fox and Friends. “This is exactly why we need more NSA reform.”
Paul said that since the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the NSA debate has been focused on more surveillance.
“Since the San Bernardino shooting everybody’s saying ‘oh, we need more surveillance of Americans’” Paul said. “In reality what we need is more targeted surveillance.”
“I’m not against surveillance” Paul added. “But I am against indiscriminate surveillance.”
“It’s a real invasion of our privacy,” said Paul. “You can see how we stifle speech if you’re going to eavesdrop on congressmen, and that it might stifle what they say or who they communicate with. And this is a big, big problem. And it’s not a new one, but we absolutely need more controls over the NSA and more controls on our intelligence agencies.”
Paul also spoke about the January 14 Republican presidential debate, where Paul says he hopes that surveillance will be a topic of discussion. He did express concern about the debate rules, which will only allow for six candidates.
“I am concerned about fairness,” said Paul. “At the very last minute with only three weeks to go, what kind of message do you think it tells the public that basically the media gets to choose who the candidates are that will be considered?”
It’s becoming clearer and clearer why the NSA exists. Their stated goals have to do with gathering intelligence to prevent terrorist attacks. There might be some of that going on, but with such massive amounts of data collected from hundreds of millions of people, it’s practically impossible to do anything useful with it, much less be able to sift through a mountain of data in hopes of stopping a terrorist attack in time.
In general though, the NSA is there to collect blackmail data on Americans, and particularly those in power. Most everybody in congress and the rest of the government has some kind of scandal they’re involved with that they’d very much like to keep secret, but that the NSA probably already knows about. As long as they’re good “team players,” those secrets will remain safe. But as soon as they decide that they want “out of the game,” a giant scandal magically gets exposed the next day.