- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky acknowledged Tuesday there’s not a lot of public evidence of entities abusing the system with respect to the government’s bulk data collection program but said that the bulk collection itself runs counter to the Fourth Amendment.

Mr. Paul said the debate is not over whether phone companies now have Americans’ records but over whether people still have a privacy interest in them.

“We sign agreements all the time with Internet service providers that says they agree not to divulge your information,” Mr. Paul, a 2016 presidential candidate, said on “Fox and Friends.” “I agree with you that there’s not a lot of public evidence that they have abused the system. However, what I would say [is] the abuse of the Fourth Amendment is the actual bulk collection of records — there’s the potential for abuse.”

“And we’ve done it in the past,” he continued. “We did it to the Japanese-Americans in World War II, we did it to civil rights protesters in the ‘60s and the Vietnam War protesters — we just sort of grabbed them up and started looking at behavior we didn’t like. So the right to dissent in a free country is very important, and some say this has a chilling effect on the right to dissent.”

Mr. Paul helped lead the fight last week against the renewal of key sections of the post-9/11 Patriot Act, including Section 215, which the Bush and Obama administrations have used to justify the NSA’s phone-snooping program.

He also said Tuesday that information that’s already been obtained and collected should be purged.

“I think that information was collected illegally. It should be purged,” he said.

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