Chris Christie accused of ‘political pornography’ over NSA remarks

Chris Christie accused of ‘political pornography’ over NSA remarks
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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is engaging in “political pornography” by saying that national security concerns trump civil liberties in a congressional battle over the Patriot Act, according to Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate approves border bill that prevents shutdown Push for paid family leave heats up ahead of 2020 New act can help us grapple with portion of exploding national debt MORE (R-Utah).

“You can’t enjoy your civil liberties if you’re in a coffin,” Christie — a likely presidential candidate — said earlier this week.

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“I view that as a statement tantamount to political pornography,” Lee responded on CNN  on Friday morning. “I think Mr. Christie should be ashamed of himself for saying that we have to choose between the Fourth Amendment, and following the Fourth Amendment, and respecting the privacy of the American people on the one hand, or a coffin on the other hand.”

“That’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s absurd,” added Lee, who is the leading Republican behind an NSA reform bill up for debate in the Senate. “If Mr. Christie wants to play a part in the national discussion regarding privacy and security, he should choose his words more carefully.”

As a former U.S. attorney, Christie has said that expiring Patriot Act provisions have been critical to tracking and stopping terrorists; he has opposed reforming the National Security Agency (NSA).

Lee’s bill, called the USA Freedom Act, a House version of which passed this week by a wide margin, would end the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, while also extending three parts of the Patriot Act otherwise set to expire at the end of the month.

Among the backers of Lee’s bill is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is likely to face off against Christie in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) — another GOP White House contender — has campaigned heavily on his opposition to the Patriot Act, which included a 10-plus-hours-long floor speech earlier this week. Paul has opposed the USA Freedom Act, however, because he says it does not go far enough to gut the Patriot Act.