Through the evening yesterday and into this morning, Rand Paul stood in front of the Senate and delivered a lengthy speech in protest against the renewal of the Patriot Act and mass surveillance programs that the NSA has undertaken in recent years. These programs, revealed in large part by the actions of NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden, are the antithesis of privacy rights and the libertarian creed. In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Patriot Act was rushed through Congress at a time when the public feared greatly for their safety. As has been pointed out on this blog previously, governments never miss an opportunity to expand and abuse their power in the face of a frightened populace. Giving the executive carte blanche in order to “keep us safe” is fraught with terrible results for privacy and other rights, as has been witnessed over the time since 9/11. Paul gave the following quote yesterday: “If you look away, the government will abuse its power”.
Paul held the floor for over 10 hours in the Senate, speaking against collective warrants and broad surveillance programs. There were a few other congressmen that also stood up in support of Rand and against the Patriot Act, and this was refreshing to see. I followed the speech for a few hours yesterday and was encouraged at the stance and points made.
I disagree with some of Rand Paul’s foreign policy stances because they are not libertarian and some of his recent views on the subject have given me pause. However, he hits the nail on the head when it comes to the surveillance state and the egregious violations of our privacy rights under Bush and Obama.
Most of the speech can be seen here: Rand Paul Filibustering Renewal of Patriot Act 5-20-2015