- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2014

Former Texas congressman and presidential contender Ron Paul is hailing last week’s defeat of a Senate bill that would have halted the NSA’s phone-snooping program as a “victory for freedom.”

The Senate version of the USA Freedom Act, sponsored by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, would have halted the NSA’s practice of collecting and storing metadata from Americans’ phone calls, a program revealed by former government contractor Edward Snowden.

But Mr. Paul criticized the bill for extending key elements of the Patriot Act, blasting the act passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks for ushering in “the era of warrantless wiretapping, monitoring of our Internet behavior, watering down of probable cause, and much more.”

“The truth is, Americans should not accept one more extension of the PATRIOT Act and should not endorse its continued dismemberment of our constitutional liberties,” Mr. Paul wrote in his weekly column.

Mr. Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, likewise opposed the USA Freedom Act because it extended key provisions of the Patriot Act until 2017.

GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida who, like the younger Mr. Paul, is weighing a bid for the presidency in 2016, helped block a procedural vote on the measure as well, but on the grounds that it would weaken the country’s counter-terrorism capabilities.

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