Policy: National Security

Rand Paul asks court to force NSA to destroy phone records

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,National Security,Rand Paul,NSA,Surveillance,Technology,Federal Courts

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., asked a federal court to require the National Security Agency to destroy the American phone records it has gathered as part of a data-mining program revealed by Edward Snowden, on the grounds that bulk collection violates the Fourth Amendment.

"We will ask the question in court whether a single warrant can apply to the records of every American phone user, all of the time, without limits, without individualization," Paul told reporters outside the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The complaint asks the court to order the NSA to "purge from their possession, custody, and control all of the telephone metadata collected, stored, retained, and searched" pertaining to American citizens.

Paul emphasized that he's "not against the NSA," just bulk collection. "I'm not against going to an individual who we suspect, with a warrant, and getting their phone records, and then if they called 100 people, I'm not against looking at those people," he told reporters.

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the lead counsel on the lawsuit (which was filed with the Tea Party group FreedomWorks as a co-plaintiff), predicted that the lawsuit would make for a majority ruling that cuts across the ideological lines on the Supreme Court.

"Given the rather dramatic advances in whats available in terms of technology today, I think it's unclear," he said when asked if the current Supreme Court justices seem inclined to have a narrow or expansive view of Fourth Amendment protections.

"I don't know that this is going to be as predictable as some other cases sometimes feel that they are," Cuccinelli told the Washington Examiner.

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