Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 29, 2015

Posts in "Intelligence"

May 27, 2015

Rand Paul Blasts Critics in the ‘Eye Roll’ Caucus (Video)

Paul hit back at his critics in a missive to campaign supporters Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Paul hit back at his critics Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

In his latest fundraising message, Sen. Rand Paul is calling out an “eye roll” caucus of senators who are against his efforts to upend Patriot Act surveillance programs.

“If I’m going to slug it out Sunday with the spy state apologists, I’m going to need all the help and support I can get,” the Kentucky Republican wrote Wednesday. “Unfortunately, it seems the President, the senior senator from Arizona and other members of the ‘eye roll’ caucus who can’t stand any mention of the Bill of Rights are all operating out of the same playbook.”

Full story

May 22, 2015

After Rand Paul’s Objections, Patriot Act Lurches Toward Expiration (Updated)

Rand Paul blocked a Patriot Act extension when he couldn't get votes on his amendments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Paul blocked a Patriot Act extension when he couldn’t get votes on his amendments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated May 23, 2 a.m. | The Senate failed to advance even a one-day extension of the Patriot Act surveillance authorities early Saturday, with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., leading bipartisan objections to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in an extraordinary sequence.

The end result is that the Senate will reconvene for legislative business at 4 p.m. on May 31, staring down a midnight deadline to reauthorize the programs in question, including some far less contentious than the bulk data collection that’s gotten most of the attention. Full story

May 21, 2015

Administration Ramps Up NSA Pitch as Burr Makes New Offer

Burr has a new proposal to extend the NSA's bulk surveillance powers by two years. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Burr has a new proposal to extend the NSA’s bulk surveillance powers by two years. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the Senate Intelligence chairman floated a new proposal, the Obama administration is warning senators against doing anything other than clearing the USA Freedom Act.

A senior administration official said late Thursday that even adopting a short-term extension of the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act could set up a “very uncertain future for these national security authorities.”

Full story

McConnell Says Senate Could Finish Friday ‘With Cooperation’ (Video)

The Kentucky senators are at odds on the NSA surveillance issue. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kentucky senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell might want to have a chat about the schedule. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The senior senator from Kentucky might need to have a little chat with the junior senator from Kentucky.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said late Thursday the Senate could finish its work on trade, Patriot Act surveillance authority and a highway patch by close of business Friday. That would let lawmakers make it to their home states well in advance of the Memorial Day parades.

But that would require “cooperation” that at this point is nowhere to be found, principally because of Sen. Rand Paul’s threat of maximum obstruction of any extension of the NSA’s surveillance powers. Full story

Intelligence Chairman Doubts Either NSA Bill Has 60 Votes

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Burr doesn’t see either NSA surveillance bill getting through the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Fortunately, I’m not the one that’s responsible for counting the votes,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday when asked about Congress possibly moving a shorter-term extension of expiring Patriot Act surveillance powers.

Earnest is indeed fortunate on this one, because the people involved in the debate on Capitol Hill seem to have no idea what the endgame looks like with House members already having left town for Memorial Day recess, and the Senate’s supposed to start in just days.

Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., has been backing a two-month extension of all of the surveillance powers under the Patriot Act that are set to lapse by June 1, including the bulk collection of telephone records.

Full story

May 20, 2015

Just Before Midnight, Rand Paul Ends ‘Filibuster’ (Updated)

Rand Paul's "filibuster" led to a long day in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rand Paul’s “filibuster” led to a long day in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated May 21, 7:18 a.m. | Sen. Rand Paul continued to speak until almost midnight — and his campaign operation continued to solicit fundraising dollars — on the most eventful day of waiting the Senate’s seen in a while.

By the time he yielded the floor after roughly 10 and a half hours, the Kentucky Republican had many colleagues join him on the floor. After finishing, Paul told a small gaggle of reporters who had stayed until the end that he seized an opportunity earlier in the day, and said he didn’t advise Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., before doing so.

“I didn’t tell him or anything because obviously if they block you from the floor, you can’t take the floor. So, I had to wait my turn and hope nobody would block me,” Paul said.

Full story

As Many #StandWithRand, Edward Snowden Sits Alone

Rand Paul launched an attempt to filibuster an extension of NSA surveillance powers Wednesday, but doesn't back clemency for Edward Snowden, the contractor who exposed the scope of the programs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rand Paul launched an attempt to filibuster an extension of NSA surveillance powers Wednesday, but doesn’t back clemency for Edward Snowden, the contractor who exposed the scope of the programs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If time heals all wounds, then Edward Snowden needs more time to get right in Washington.

Snowden is exiled in Russia, having been charged with espionage and no sign that President Barack Obama will grant him clemency.

On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul launched a long floor speech hoping to end the bulk data collection programs that Snowden exposed. Most of the bipartisan coalition of senators who aided Paul in relief did so while promoting a bill that would end one of the programs — the one collecting telephone metadata. And a few weeks ago, a federal court ruled the program violated the law.

But still, Snowden still sits alone. No senators on Wednesday said their perception of the former National Security Agency contractor had softened or changed since he two years ago leaked to the media data exposing the scope of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

Comments around the Senate ranged from outright contempt to calling him a criminal whose actions may have led to some good. But no one defended him. Full story

Rand Paul Takes the Floor to Contest NSA Surveillance (Updated) (Video)

Paul toured Independence Hall on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Paul toured Independence Hall on Monday and vowed to “filibuster” an extension of the NSA’s surveillance powers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:44 p.m. | At approximately 1:18 p.m. Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul took to the Senate floor for what’s best described as an extended oration about the Fourth Amendment.

Unlike Rand Paul’s filibuster of the choice of John O. Brennan to head up the Central Intelligence Agency in 2013, which was designed to protest the Obama administration’s use of drones, the Kentucky Republican isn’t really holding up Senate business this time since the chamber is sitting through an “intervening day.”

Full story

May 18, 2015

Rand Paul Says He Has Votes ‘Outside the Beltway’ on NSA Surveillance

Paul has made standing up for the Fourth Amendment a cornerstone of his presidential campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul has made standing up for the Fourth Amendment a cornerstone of his presidential campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

RollCall-On-the-Road-Logo(150x150)PHILADELPHIA — Standing on the lawn outside the landmark where the framers debated the Constitution, Sen. Rand Paul launched his newest Fourth Amendment campaign.

“Here in front of Independence Hall, I call for the president to obey the law. The court said last week that it is illegal to collect all of your phone records, all the time, without a warrant with your name on it,” Paul said. “I call on the president today to immediately end the bulk collection of our phone records.”

Full story

May 17, 2015

McConnell Shrugs Off Paul’s NSA Surveillance Filibuster

The Kentucky senators are at odds on the NSA surveillance issue. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Kentucky senators are at odds on NSA surveillance as Paul contemplates a filibuster. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The split in the Kentucky Senate delegation over the government’s surveillance powers was on full display again Sunday on the morning news programs.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told ABC’s This Week that while he agrees with his junior Republican colleague Sen. Rand Paul on most topics, the question of authorities for the National Security Agency to collect phone records under the Patriot Act is clearly not one of them.

Full story

Rand Paul’s NSA Filibuster Vow Complicates Senate’s Memorial Day Getaway

Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell are on opposite sides of the NSA surveillance debate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kentucky’s senators are on opposite sides of the NSA surveillance debate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate is supposed to be finishing up a six-week work period, but would lawmakers really leave for the Memorial Day recess without resolving the debate over National Security Agency surveillance?

For Sen. Rand Paul the answer is “yes,” because a lack of affirmative legislative action by the Senate by June 1 would mean the expiration of the authorities under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

Full story

May 13, 2015

Senate Intelligence Chairman Blasts House’s NSA Surveillance Overhaul

Burr VA Scandal VFW DAV letter

Burr dismissed the House-passed USA Freedom Act intended to overhaul the NSA’s surveillance programs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee says the bill passed overwhelmingly Wednesday by the House  overhauling National Security Agency surveillance is no better than letting the Patriot Act provisions expire at the end of the month.

“Yogi Berra said I never make predictions, especially about the future,” Sen. Richard M. Burr quipped Wednesday when asked about what would happen when the Senate takes up a reauthorization of  surveillance powers, likely next week.

Full story

May 7, 2015

Paul’s Anti-NSA Push Is at Odds With McConnell’s Agenda (Updated) (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell, right, has introduced a long-term extension of surveillance powers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:34 p.m. | Sen. Rand Paul is calling the debate on an issue that puts him at odds with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “a defining moment for our country.”

In a series of tweets, the junior Kentucky Republican declared he would do what was in his power to preclude reauthorization of expiring National Security Agency surveillance powers under the Patriot Act.

Full story

April 28, 2015

McCain Sets Stage for Fight Over Drones

Armed Services Chairman McCain wants to get the CIA out of the business of drone strikes. Senate Intelligence Chairman Burr, left, may have other ideas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Armed Services Chairman McCain, right, wants to get the CIA out of the business of drone strikes. Senate Intelligence Chairman Burr  may have other ideas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John McCain is planning to shift the CIA’s secretive drone program to the Defense Department through the National Defense Authorization Act, setting the stage for a fight later this year with Senate Intelligence leaders and making him an unlikely ally of President Barack Obama. Full story

April 23, 2015

Leahy, Paul Honored Together as ‘Constitutional Champions’

Leahy and Paul were honored Wednesday evening. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Leahy and Paul were honored Wednesday evening. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Looking only at voting records, you wouldn’t expect Rand Paul and Patrick J. Leahy to share an award of any kind.

But the Kentucky Republican who’s running for president and the Vermont Democrat who is now the longest-serving senator gave remarkably similar policy speeches Wednesday evening. The remarks by the two senators to The Constitution Project’s annual awards gala highlighted the fact that on civil liberties issues, party labels aren’t representative of much.

Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...