In case you missed it, Senator Rand Paul and FreedomWorks filed a lawsuit against President Obama, DNI James Clapper, and NSA Director Keith Alexander today using language that suggests to me they have no idea what they’re talking about.
“We will ask the question in court whether a single warrant can apply to the records of every American phone user all the time, without limits, without individualization,” Paul said at a press conference in front of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. [...]
“We believe that this lawsuit could conceivably represent hundreds of millions of people who have phones lines in this country or cell phones,” he said.
There are strict limits on the information the NSA is authorized to collect, and to delve deeper into an individual record the agency is, in fact, required to seek special permission.
Amusingly, Paul is being represented by former state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a man who sought to march government into your bedroom and ban blowjobs in Virginia, and the language he used while announcing the lawsuit was even more incoherent.
He says intelligence officials should obtain individualized warrants for tracking phone data.
“I’m not against looking at phone records. I just want you to go to a judge, have a person’s name and individualize a warrant,” he said.
Ken isn’t against looking at phone records, he just wants the agency to do something they’re already require to do if they want to review an individual, specific record.
The NSA does not collect names in their bulk collection program. Is Cuccinelli saying that they should? How can the NSA present a name if they don’t even know who they’re looking for to begin with? Does Cuccinelli understand any of this?
Several members of the administration have responded to Paul’s ridiculous lawsuit with a few inconvenient facts.
“We believe the program as it exists is lawful,” Hayden said by e-mail, addressing the data collection generally. “It has been found to be lawful by multiple courts. And it receives oversight from all three branches of government.”
“We remain confident that the Section 215 telephone metadata program is legal, as at least 15 judges have previously found,” Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.
As a member of Congress Rand Paul is entitled to briefings on the NSA’s activities, but that’s not what this is about. This is a media stunt that will net him praise from his usual cult of followers and dopes and chumps on the left who can’t see the forest for the trees.