Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken Rand Paul: 'Hatred for Trump' blocking research into ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment Masks and vaccines: What price freedom? MORE (R-Ky.) swiped at Gov. Chris ChristieChris ChristieChristie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group Christie: Biden's new vaccine mandate will 'harden opposition' Allies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid MORE (R-N.J.) on Monday, calling him an "authoritarian" for his stance on government surveillance.
“There will always be people like Christie that are very willing to give up your liberty for a false sense of security,” Paul said told hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“But, you know, we’ve studied this issue and we found that the bulk data collection program didn’t catch any terrorists and didn’t prevent any attacks,” Paul said of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) phone metadata collection initiative.
“So the question is, is there any limit to how much liberty people — authoritarians like Christie — are willing to give up?” he said.
“I don’t think there’s any limit. They’ll come back to you next week and say we want more, give us more of your freedom, give us more of your freedom, we’ll protect you.”
Paul and Christie have waged a war of words over surveillance, sparring repeatedly over what measures should be in place to keep the country safe.
The Republican presidential candidates had a heated exchange over the issue at the first GOP debate in August, with Paul telling Christie he fundamentally misunderstands the Bill of Rights.
Christie, citing his experience as U.S. attorney, shot back that Paul was "just blowing hot air."
Paul in the interview Monday said programs like the NSA’s bulk collection of phone metadata will not give the country "complete security," yet will erode people's freedoms.
“Will it have been worth it if we’re no longer who we were?” Paul asked. "We defend what’s special about America in the process of defending the country.”
Paul said tightening screening requirements for people visiting the United States would be a better use of government resources.
“I would like to target the people who are coming here to attack us,” Paul said. "We need to have some limits on who comes to visit us.
“I think we should learn that we can’t have open borders,” the Kentucky lawmaker added. "I’ve been advocating for several years now that students, immigrants, visitors, potential fiancés, all of them need more scrutiny.”
The debate over government surveillance has flared anew following last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. Fourteen people died and another 21 were wounded when two shooters opened fire on an office facility there.
Christie and other supporters of the NSA’s phone record program say the metadata methods, which were recently ended under orders from Congress, could have prevented the violence.
Congress voted on rolling back some of the NSA’s surveillance measures involving phone records earlier this year.