Paul: We need more spying in Russia
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year Despite amnesty, DACA bill favors American wage-earners MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday the United States needs to spend more time spying on Russian officials and less collecting U.S. phone records. 

Paul asserted the intelligence community’s failure to predict the Russian incursion into Ukraine offers an example of misplaced priorities. 

“It appears as though we didn't have very good intelligence as to what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin was doing,” Paul told The Blaze radio. “I think we need to do a little more spying on the Russians and a lot less spying on Americans.”

Paul has been one of the most vocal critics of the National Security Agency surveillance program that collects metadata on a large swath of Americans. He even filed a lawsuit attempting to stop the program. 

Paul said the United States should spend more resources spying on its adversaries. 

“We just shouldn't collect all Americans records, and I think sometimes it distracts us from the things we should do,” he said. 

The director of national intelligence has pushed back hard on recent assertions that the intelligence community failed to predict Russian forces movement into Crimea. 

“I have lived through some genuine intelligence failures in my career, and this was not a failure by any stretch," Director James ClapperJames Robert ClapperPompeo rejects notion of ‘deep state’ at CIA Trump’s failed fraud commission: Flawed from the start, dissolved in disgrace Clapper: Trump labeling DOJ part of 'deep state' is 'reprehensible' MORE said in an interview Monday. 

He said the intelligence community tracked the situation carefully and “provided anticipatory warning of their incursion into Crimea.”