US Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he takes some credit for President Obama’s decision to end the National Security Agency’s metadata collection program.
In an interview after Obama announced the change on Tuesday, Paul was asked on “Fox and Friends” if it would make him happy for phone companies, not the government, to retain the metadata.
“Well, you know, I don’t want to take all the credit for ending this, but I think our lawsuit had something to do with bringing the president to the table,” Paul said.
In February, Paul filed a lawsuit against Obama and the leaders of US intelligence agencies, charging that the bulk collection program is unconstitutional.
Under the proposal, phone companies wouldn’t be required to keep records beyond 18 months. Intelligence officials would then have to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to search the records.
If the administration executes the change, Paul said the program would, in his opinion, be constitutional.
“If it’s left in the phone company’s hands and you have to have a warrant with an individual’s name on it, then that I think meets the law, the Constitution,” Paul said. “But we’ll have to see what happens. The president sometimes says one thing and does another.”
Obama called on Congress Tuesday to institute the proposed changes, but Paul said he doesn’t think Obama needs congressional authority.
“The interesting thing is he unilaterally instituted this program without congressional authority,” he said. “I think he could unilaterally stop the program if he were serious about it.”
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