Rand Paul Derps So Hard

Senator and libertarian boy wonder Rand Paul doesn’t want to be shown up by Larry Klayman, and to that end he has announced that he too will file a lawsuit against the Obama administration and the NSA.

From the Associated Press

In an interview Friday night on the Fox News show “Hannity,” the Kentucky Republican tells host Eric Bolling he believes everyone in the U.S. with a cellphone would be eligible to join the suit as a class action.

Paul says that people who want to join the suit are telling the government that it can’t have access to emails and phone records without permission or without a specific warrant.

This would be great except “the government” already needs permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

And — speak of the devil — the FISC renewed that permission yesterday.

FISCRenew

And to be abundantly clear — “metadata” refers to phone numbers, time, and duration of calls. This does not include the content of your communications, meaning the NSA is not recording your phone sex. That is unless you’re having phone sex with a foreign terrorist and the agency obtained a warrant to listen.

You’re free to debate the ethics of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the NSA, but there is nothing illegal here. It was approved by Congress. Edward Snowden is not a “whisteblower” as he has revealed nothing illegal.

Rand Paul’s lawsuit has less to do with privacy and more to do with “the government” and his opposition to “the government.” His use of vague and overly-broad language is not an accident. It’s his philosophy. They’re coming for your donuts, for pete’s sake.

The same could be said for some of the administration’s harshest critics on the subject.

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  • Churchlady320

    As one whose organizational email WAS hacked in 2003, I sure know the difference between metadata and hacking. I SO appreciate your clarity on this Rand lawsuit and on what Snowden “revealed” that many of us knew already. The fact we knew means – not a secret! If you follow the ‘revelations’ so many are from the Bush years – the ones that seriously matter to invasion of privacy – but neither Snowden or GG ever mention the chronology. Those who pounce on early 2000 data to blame President Obama for them are just hypocrites since they supported it or ignored these intrusions when it covered Muslims or supporters of American Muslims. We were expendable. Now that the government has your number – less revealing than the phone book – it’s horrors galore. Nuts to that – we are NOT being surveilled unless, as you note, someone is having phone sex with terrorists on a known terrorist number. And in that case you deserve to be called out for it. Though I’d NOT want to be the NSA person having to listen. Good sense needs to prevail here.

    • Nick2000

      You are correct. They are only collecting all the metadata and storing it (for 15 years) in case it is needed. I assume that covers SMS texts as well. By the way, I was very annoyed when the “patriot” act was passed and when the bush administration mis-behaved so I fail to see why I should stop being annoyed when it’s a Democratic administration… Also, speaking of legality, John Yoo made torturing people legal so I assume that it’s all good with us, right? You know, “nation of (crazy) laws” and all that…

      • Badgerite

        I believe it’s 5 years, not 15. In fact, I’m sure of it.
        From Eric Posner ( Professor of Law at the Chicago University School of Law) has an article in Slate that sums up what happens to your ‘metadata. From the end of the Article Judge Pauley Got It Right.

        “Now consider how the metadata program actually invades your privacy. The phone numbers you call and receive used to sit on one third-party server – the phone company’s – but now sit on the government’s servers as well. Most people’s metadata linger there unexamined until the system purges itself within five years. There is a small probability that a terrorist has ordered a pizza from the same place you have, and if so, your number, (but not your name) might be one of thousands that an NSA agent eventually sees. It is most unlikely that he will pursue the pizza connection, but if he does, the FBI takes over and must conduct the investigation in conformity with the Fourth Amendment. From a legal standpoint, then, the invasion of privacy is minimal.”

        “The recent report on the NSA by the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies points out that an NSA employee with a grudge against someone can look up the person’s phone number, plump the data for evidence that he dials Alcoholics Anonymous or a suicide hotline, and then blackmail or harass him.
        But the same point can be made about any government repository of information – your financial records ( on file with the IRS ) – or your medical records ( on file with Medicare or Medicaid). And thousands of government employees can access those records whereas only 22 NSA employees can access the metadata, according to the President’s Review Group. We should demand safeguards, but the metadata program has safeguards aplenty. If we accepted the theoretical risk of government abuse as a reason for shutting down government programs, we wouldn’t have many such programs.

        “According to the same President’s Review Group, there is no evidence that the government has abused the metadata program in the 1984-ish sense of suppressing dissent or harassing innocent citizens. The risk of abuse must, for now, be considered remote. If the NSA ever does start blackmailing people, the information will come out because you can’t blackmail someone without talking to them.

      • Churchlady320

        Be sensible – hardly anyone has the same number or email for 15 years (spoofing and phishing lead to major changes as does losing your phone or moving). The CONTENT is not up for grabs without warrants, and that is what we fought to get and did get. We need MORE and the laws must improve, but we are not being followed randomly because, yes, we did succeed in establishing laws that are now finally being followed in concert with the Constitution.

        In fact Yoo et al. did NOT change the laws concerning the use of torture at all but merely interpreted them without court intervention or judgment. Big difference. That’s why PBO’s first directive as president was to have this nation OBEY the laws and treaties we had on the books. They violated the laws; they did not create new ones.

        • Badgerite

          I agree that John Yoo’s legal interpretations and reasoning were unconvincing, to say the least. And his successor in the Office of Legal Counsel would not sign off on them. But I don’t see how you can prosecute anyone in the executive for relying on them or prosecute John Yoo himself for making them. What’s the crime?
          Ludicrous legal interpretation in time of national stress? Still, they violated international treaties that the US was a signatory to by changing the interpretation to change their version of what the treaties required. It is as close to violating the treaties as you can get without actually shredding them.

  • muselet

    Rand Paul is kicking himself for not being first on the pointless lawsuit/mailing list/PROFIT! gravy train.

    Guess he’s not as good a grifter as Larry Klayman (there’s no shame in it, very few are).

    –alopecia

    • D_C_Wilson

      Larry Klayman is a pretty pathetic grifter, actually. He’s only ever won one case in his entire career as a lawyer.

      • muselet

        The measure of a successful grifter isn’t the number of court cases won, it’s the number of dollars collected from the rubes. Larry Klayman has done all right for himself.

        –alopecia

  • freakishlystrong

    Is grandstanding, buffoon Rand aware he’s a sitting U.S. senator? Maybe he should write a law or something?

    • Ashes Defacto

      That’s something that is never going to happen. It would require Rand Paul to be seen publicly as being for something. A very risky move for him because every time he opens his mouth about what he’s for people get reminded of the reality that he’s crazy as a sh*t house rat.

    • D_C_Wilson

      As a devoted worshiper of Ayn Rand, Sen. Paul is philosophically opposed to actually doing anything worthwhile as an elected official.