- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says he plans to do “everything humanly possible” to try to stop the Patriot Act, key provisions of which are due to expire at the end of the month, including Section 215, which the Obama and Bush administrations have used to justify the NSA’s phone snooping and bulk data collection programs.

“Whether or not I’m allowed to filibuster is another question,” Mr. Paul, a 2016 presidential candidate, said in an interview that aired Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day.”

He said he could demand 60 votes and not give consent to proceed — “that I will do, so I will do a formal filibuster.”

“Whether or not that means I can go to the floor — some of that depends on what happens, because … you have to get to the floor when the floor allows you to come, so whether that happens or not, I will filibuster the Patriot Act, and I’ll do everything I can to try to adhere to the courts — the courts have now said the bulk collection of records is illegal,” he said. “They should stop immediately.”

A federal appeals panel did recently rule that the bulk data collection is not legal under the Patriot Act. The GOP-led House passed a bill last week with broad bipartisan support that rewrote Section 215 and cancelled bulk data collection, but Senate Republicans like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are pushing for a broad extension of the act.

Mr. Paul famously mounted a nearly 13-hour filibuster in March 2013 over the nomination of CIA Director John O. Brennan, demanding to know whether the Obama administration thought they had legal justification to target non-combatant Americans on U.S. soil.

“Nobody can predict how long you can talk, but I plan on doing everything humanly possible to try to stop the Patriot Act,” he said.

“The people on our side who believe in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, [in] privacy — we have a more difficult time … because they don’t give us the intelligence information,” Mr. Paul said. “I can see very little. The Intelligence Committee gets to see 100 times more than I get to see, and the thing is [you’re] getting information given to you by people who believe in this bulk collection of records.

“So you’re only getting one side — we don’t get a two-sided evaluation of any of this,” he said.

He called Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a “champion” for privacy and the Bill of Rights, but said “there have been very few others that I think have a balanced or a nuanced approach as far as protecting the individual’s right to privacy.”

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