Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said Monday that the NSA’s phone-snooping program didn’t catch any terrorists or prevented any attacks, breaking from several of his 2016 GOP presidential rivals, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who have described the program as an effective tool in the fight against terrorism.
“There will always be people like Christie that are very willing to give up your liberty for a false sense of security,” Mr. Paul said 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.”
Mr. Paul also pointed out that at least one court found the bulk metadata collection program, which recently wound down after the passage of the USA Freedom Act earlier this year, to be illegal.
“What [former NSA contractor Edward] Snowden revealed was that we were collecting all of Verizon’s records on all Americans,” Mr. Paul said. “Not that we had suspicion, not that we were targeting our research or targeting our collection of records.”
“I think it’s actually made us less safe, because I think the haystack is so large that we’re getting lost in the haystack,” he said. “I would like to target the people who are coming here to attack us, and I think like [Marco] Rubio and Christie and [Jeb] Bush - they’re not willing to defend the border, and I think really, we shouldn’t have let this woman in from Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. We need to have some limits on who come to visit us - we need to make sure they’re not intent on attacking us. That’s how we defend the country.”