- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said Tuesday that President Obama is being “disingenuous” on the NSA’s bulk data collection program and that the president could stop the program anytime he wants.

“Here’s the thing about the president: He’s disingenuous about this,” the Kentucky Republican said on “CBS This Morning.” “The president started this program through executive order — he could end it anytime.”

Mr. Paul, who is running for president in 2016, pointed out a federal appellate panel’s recently ruling the NSA program illegal under the post-9/11 Patriot Act.

“Why doesn’t he stop it? What’s he waiting for?” Mr. Paul said. “He [says], ‘Oh, Congress can stop it.’ He started it on his own. He should stop it, and I’ve asked the president repeatedly, ‘Stop the program.’ “

Last week, Mr. Paul helped the U.S. Senate block a reauthorization of key sections of the Patriot Act due to expire at the end of the month, including Section 215, which the Bush and Obama administrations have used to justify the NSA’s phone-snooping program.

Mr. Obama had previously defended the program but has now embraced changes, and the White House has criticized lawmakers on Capitol Hill for failing to back the USA Freedom Act, which would extend Patriot Act powers but cut out bulk collection under Section 215, or come up with an alternative.

Mr. Paul’s opposition puts him on the opposite side of the argument as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, though Mr. Paul said Tuesday he doesn’t think he and his fellow Kentucky Republican “need counseling yet.”

“We have a very personable relationship — we are friends; we get along fine,” Mr. Paul said. “On the NSA thing, we are on opposite sides, but I think we both keep it very civil; [I have] not had any harsh words with him or him with me, and I’m still hoping that we can find an arrangement that ends bulk collection.”

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