Sen. Paul says data program violates civil liberties - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Sen. Paul says data program violates civil liberties

Sen. Rand Paul Sen. Rand Paul

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Our founding fathers would be horrified at the way our government collects information according to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

He made the remarks after announcing plans to file a lawsuit against the government for the NSA data gathering program.

Collecting data from our cell phones and internet is legal according to the NSA. Paul disagrees. "We will be challenging the constitutionality of the court order that collects all of America's cell phone data all of the time."

The Republican invited fellow politicians from Michigan, South Carolina, Texas along with civil liberty leaders to announce the plans Thursday afternoon.

They say the program leaked last week through newspaper articles violates our First and Fourth amendment rights. "The government does not have the right to spy on you without some indication you've done something wrong," said Laura Murphy, Director of ACLU's Washington Legislative office.

NSA officials testified Wednesday the program is meant to keep the country safe from terrorists. Director Army General Keith Alexander said they are trying to be transparent, and protect civil liberties and privacy.

Paul said he wants to catch terrorists too, but not at the expense of our rights and questions if the program even works. "Perhaps we are overwhelming ourselves with data. Perhaps this unfocused approach distracts us from knowing one of the Boston bombers had gone back to Chechnya."

Initial reports state Congress knew about the program. Representative Thomas Massie (KY-4) questions too. "I can tell you the ones I've spoken with were unaware of this program. In fact, we were lied to as recently as March about the existence of this program."

Paul wants everyone who owns a cell phone to sign onto the suit. He said 250,000 people already are on board and he expects that number to rise above a million.

In terms of how he will file the suit, Paul said he hasn't worked out the mechanics of it yet.

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