Rand Paul: Supreme Court should review NSA programs (video)

Video is from a June interview on "Fox News Sunday."


Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday called for a Supreme Court review of the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's top-secret surveillance programs, arguing that congressional hearings and new safeguards announced by President Obama might not be sufficient to ensure privacy rights.

"I think the constitutionality of these programs needs to be questioned, and there needs to be a Supreme Court decision that looks at whether what they are doing is constitutional or not," Paul told "Fox News Sunday."

The Washington Post reported this week that the NSA broke privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times per year, according to an internal audit revealed by former defense contractor Edward Snowden.

Paul blasted the administration in light of the revelation, saying President Obama "fundamentally misunderstands the constitutional separation of powers."

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"The checks and balances are supposed to come from independent branches of government," Paul said. "So he thinks that if gets some lawyers together from the NSA, and they do a PowerPoint presentation and tell him everything's ok, that the NSA can police itself."

He also accused the National Security Agency and White House of deliberately misleading Congress and the public about ongoing surveillance programs.

"They chose not to report the program, period," Paul said. "They said they weren't looking at any American data or any phone calls, and it turns out they're looking at billions of phone calls every day."

Paul, who has admitted to weighing a 2016 presidential bid, added that "the only way to find justice is to hear both sides."

"There really needs to be a discussion of people who are more skeptical of the NSA in an open court, I think before the Supreme Court."

Before leaving for his weeklong vacation to Martha's Vineyard earlier this month, President Obama announced a series of new steps his administration would take to address concerns over the programs.

Obama said he would work with Congress to increase oversight on the program that reviews phone metadata, promote the role of a civil libertarian adversary in the process for obtaining a search warrant, and release new information about the legal rationale for the spying.

"It’s right to ask questions about surveillance, particularly as technology is reshaping every aspect of our lives,” Obama said. “It’s not enough for me, as president, to have confidence in these programs. The American people need to have confidence in them as well.”