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Iran Press TV

Rand Paul: NSA spying 'unconstitutional'

Iran Press TV

Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:32AM GMT

US Senator Rand Paul has said that much of the US National Security Agency's spying program is unconstitutional as he urged congressional hearings on the spy agency's data collection practices.=

"You know, I think it would be better with more oversight, but there are some things they are doing that I fundamentally think are unconstitutional," Paul said, speaking on Fox News Sunday.

"Our founding fathers, when they wrote the Fourth Amendment, said a single warrant goes toward a specific individual and what you want to look for. ... The constitution doesn't allow for a single warrant to get a billion phone records," he added.

However, Representative Peter King, who also appeared on Fox News Sunday, defended the NSA's spying programs saying, "I fully disagree with what Sen. Rand Paul said."

An internal audit obtained by the Washington Post shows that the NSA has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since 2008 when it was granted broad surveillance powers by US lawmakers.

In response to the revelation made by the Post, the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is supposedly responsible to oversee the US government's spying programs, said Friday that the US secret court has limited ability to police US spying.

Results from a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, conducted August 9-10, showed the majority of Americans believe oversight of the NSA's surveillance is not adequate.

The poll was conducted after US President Barack Obama offered a four-point reform package to increase the transparency of the US government's premier spy agency.

A controversial part of Obama's reform package was the implication that James Clapper, the US spy master who lied to Congress about domestic surveillance, would head an "independent group" of "outside experts" to oversee US spying.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll showed that 43 percent of Americans rated Obama's performance with regard to protecting their constitutional rights as "poor", with 15 percent characterizing Obama's performance as "only fair."

"I think the president fundamentally misunderstands the constitutional separation of powers," said Paul on Fox News Sunday.

"Because the checks and balances are supposed to come from independent branches of government. So he thinks that if he gets some lawyers together from the NSA and they do a Power Point presentation and tell him everything is okay, that the NSA can police themselves. But one of the fundamental things that our founders put in place was they wanted to separate police power from the judiciary power," he added.

Meanwhile, former NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden has indicated that the US spying practices will get worse as the NSA seeks to use its databases in more aggressive ways.

According to Hayden, the US spy agency would want to use an advanced algorithm to sieve through the vast amount of data it had collected on the American people. Such an algorithm would enable NSA operatives, for example, to read the email of every American citizen.


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