- The Washington Times - Monday, June 1, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul on Monday hailed a “big victory for privacy” in his fight against the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection program after key provisions of the post-9/11 Patriot Act lapsed late Sunday.

“Actually, I think we’re winning,” the Kentucky Republican said on Fox News when asked if the legislative fight was over for the moment. “The president will be rebuked and the president will no longer be able to illegally collect our records all the time, so I think it’s a big victory for privacy.”

Amid Sunday’s floor battle over the expiring law, Mr. Paul had acknowledged that he could delay matters for only a few days. The Senate is now poised to take up a House-passed bill that does away with bulk collection by the NSA, but that legislation would also extend powers for the U.S. government to obtain wiretaps that follow terrorists from phone to phone and another provision that allows the targeting of “lone wolf” terrorists.

Mr. Paul also defended his stand on the issue amid criticism from some within the GOP, saying that “nobody really questions my sincerity with my support and defense of the Fourth Amendment and the Bill of Rights.”

“And those who do are just simply, you know, trying to make the debate into a tawdry debate and trying to use personal innuendo, which I think is really beneath all of us and we ought to have a better debate on the facts,” he said.

Mr. Paul, a 2016 presidential contender, did allow that he might have engaged in a bit of “hyperbole” a day earlier when he suggested that some people secretly want a terrorist attack “so they can blame it on me.”

“I think sometimes going after people’s motives and impugning people’s motives is a mistake and in the heat of battle I think sometimes hyperbole can get the better of all of us,” he said. “I think the general idea that people use fear, and I think they do use fear — they act as if we can’t collect any records. … I think we need to have an intelligent debate, and sometimes hyperbole gets the better of us, I think’s the best way to put it.”

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