Opinion

Ted Cruz defends Rand Paul's NSA lawsuit from 'highly dubious' Justice Department argument

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Rand Paul,Ted Cruz,NSA,Justice Department

A Justice Department request that a federal judge dismiss the class-action lawsuit filed by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., against the National Security Agency phone records collection program strikes Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as "highly dubious."

President Obama's attorneys argued that Paul and his co-plaintffs did not offer "sufficient well-pleaded, non-conclusory allegations demonstrating that they have been injured because of the telephony metadata program."

Cruz thought it "curious" that the Justice Department argued that Paul couldn't prove his phone records were collected by the government.

"The factual predicate for DOJ's claim, at least as you've described it, seems to be highly dubious given the repeated public statements of the administration that every American's cell phones' metadata records have been intercepted; and, indeed, the administration has responded to members of Congress by saying 'yes, members of Congress have had their records intercepted just like other citizens,' " Cruz told the Washington Examiner Wednesday afternoon. "So, given their public admissions, that's a curious basis for the department to attempt to litigate the case."

The motion to dismiss said that "the program has never captured information on all (or virtually all) telephone calls made and/or received in the United States." A White House "white paper" on the program, though, said that the program allows "analysis of metadata associated with telephone calls within, to, or from the United States."

"There have certainly been letters between the administration and Congress and indeed there has been congressional testimony that would suggest that all of us have had our records intercepted," Cruz added.

The Justice Department argued that Paul's lawsuit should be dismissed even if his records were collected. "Even presuming that records of [Paul's] calls have been collected under this program, [Paul's] allegations of injury are speculative and conjectural, not actual or imminent, as Article III requires," the motion says.

Paul sounded unconcerned in his short comment on the motion. "The American people deserve better than warrantless surveillance and domestic spying," he said.

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