Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2015

Rand Paul Offers Bill to Curb NSA Data Seizures

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced on Thursday a bill that would restrict government searches of phone numbers without “a warrant based on probable cause.” The legislation is in response to news that the National Security Agency has seized millions of Verizon phone records pursuant to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court order.

The debate over what information the government is entitled to — and how FISA courts make such a determination — was at one time a top conversation in Congress. But since 2010, the topic has become largely non-controversial among lawmakers and Congress on multiple occasions has quietly reauthorized the sweeping Patriot Act, which was passed in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In February 2010, the Senate passed a renewal in a late-evening unanimous consent vote.

It’s certainly becoming a point of contention again. Paul, who has taken particular interest in these privacy issues, was the first out of the gate with a new bill.

“The revelation that the NSA has secretly seized the call records of millions of Americans, without probable cause, represents an outrageous abuse of power and a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. I have long argued that Congress must do more to restrict the Executive’s expansive law enforcement powers to seize private records of law-abiding Americans that are held by a third-party,” Paul said in a statement. “When the Senate rushed through a last-minute extension of the FISA Amendments Act late last year, I insisted on a vote on my amendment … to require stronger protections on business records and prohibiting the kind of data-mining this case has revealed.”

His statement continued: “Just last month, I introduced S.1037, the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act, which would provide exactly the kind of protections that, if enacted, could have prevented these abuses and stopped these increasingly frequent violations of every American’s constitutional rights. The bill restores our Constitutional rights and declares that the Fourth Amendment shall not be construed to allow any agency of the United States government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause.”

As WGDB reported earlier today, Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., has worked for years to end the data collection program. And he predicted in 2009 that a controversy would erupt someday over something like the Verizon phone data order that disrupted the Capitol Thursday.

“I’ve offered several [proposals] over the years, and I’m prepared to offer them again,” Durbin said then. “I think there are ways to make this more specific so that any data collected is specific to a suggestion that an individual is … engaged in conduct that endangers America.”

But not all lawmakers are concerned. The top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee are not worried about the seizures. This position is consistent with the one we first reported Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., took last month on the Department of Justice’s decision to seize phone records of Associated Press reporters.

“I’m not one of them that has said the Department of Justice has exceeded their boundaries. I think it’s important that we find out exactly what was done,” Feinstein said then of that government probe.

Comments (13)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

author email

  1. Bill Adkins

    June 7, 2013
    6:36 a.m.

    Wow. Rand Paul certainly must have missed the entire debate on this issue during the run up to its vote in Congress in 2005 or so. FISA courts were pretty much already a rubber stamp but not rubber enough for the Bush Administration. I opposed the changes to FISA then, still do — but that Rand Paul appears ignorant of how this happens is – well, I’ve been watching him for a while – it’s not surprising.

  2. danshanteal

    June 8, 2013
    12:42 p.m.

    What gets me is they couldn’t even get the Boston Bomber thing right after the Ruskies stuck it in their ear.

  3. Kim 'Crash' Harrison

    June 9, 2013
    1:47 a.m.

    another feeble attempt by the GOP to achieve some kind of an erection

  4. Jeffrey Lebowski

    June 10, 2013
    5:59 p.m.

    Thank you for your excellent, ongoing coverage of this story. Whether it is through Senator Paul’s bill or Senator Durbin’s proposals, the secret dragnet of Americans’ telephone contacts must be stopped, and the acceptability of the even more iintrusive PRISM program debated by the public. The bland assurances offered by my state’s Senator Feinstein do not reassure me.

  5. Anonymous

    July 19, 2015
    8:38 a.m.

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

    http://www.sdorttuiiplmnr.com/

  6. Anonymous

    July 20, 2015
    4:18 p.m.

    I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping the same high-grade blog post from you in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a good example of it.

    http://slimcelebrity.com

  7. Anonymous

    July 20, 2015
    9:28 p.m.

    Thanks for another informative web site. Where else could I get that type of info written in such an ideal way? I’ve a project that I’m just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such info.

    http://quotesautoinsurance.org/state-farm-quote.html

  8. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    3:26 a.m.

    This is a very good tips especially to those new to blogosphere, brief and accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article.

    http://lowcostautoquotes.com/low-cost-car-insurance.html

  9. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    12:35 a.m.

    Hello, you used to write great, but the last several posts have been kinda boring?K I miss your tremendous writings. Past several posts are just a little out of track! come on!

    https://bestplumbers.com

  10. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    7:55 a.m.

    Some really nice and useful information on this internet site, likewise I think the layout contains fantastic features.

    http://bathmatehydromax-x30.weebly.com/blog/miliki-zakar-besar-panjang-saiz-yang-di-ingini

  11. Anonymous

    July 28, 2015
    4:37 a.m.

    I really appreciate this post. I?¦ve been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thank you again

    http://www.sdorttuiiplmnr.com/

  12. Anonymous

    July 28, 2015
    2:11 p.m.

    Very interesting details you have observed, appreciate it for putting up. “I’ve made a couple of mistakes I’d like to do over.” by Jerry Coleman.

    http://www.warriorforum.com/showthread.php?t=1094532

  13. Anonymous

    today
    8:54 a.m.

    Very interesting info !Perfect just what I was searching for!

    http://domweselnywarszawa.eu/

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...