GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul did not mince words in a campaign stop at George Mason University, Virginia Thursday, labeling a call for increased government surveillance as “Bullsh*t”.
“So when they stand up on television and says ‘the tragedy in Paris means you have to give up your liberty. We need more phone surveillance.’ Bullshit.” Paul told a crowd of students who enthusiastically cheered.
“Are you allowed to use profanity? Is that part of the– are we in the free speech zone?” the Libertarian leaning Paul quipped.
“But here’s the thing is, they are collecting your phone records as we speak. They did not miss a beat. And even though we voted on reform, all of your phone records are still being collected and stored in Utah.” Paul explained, referring to the NSA’s bulk data collection program.
“Did it stop the attack in Paris? Not one iota.” Paul concluded.
Paul again stands out from the GOP crowd on the issue of government surveillance, being the only candidate, aside from Ted Cruz, to express a desire to stop the NSA spying on Americans.
Other candidates such as Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have called for increasing the NSA’s spying.
“I will fight to restore the Patriot Act’s metadata program to ensure we have the ability to connect the dots between known foreign terrorists and potential operatives here in the United States,” Bush said in a speech at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., this week.
“At least two of my colleagues in the Senate aspiring to be president have voted to weaken the U.S. intelligence program,” Rubio said at a conference on Monday. “The weakening of our intelligence gathering capabilities leaves America vulnerable, and that is exactly what’s happened.”
Rand Paul has continually opposed NSA spying, famously carried out a ten hour filibuster on the Senate floor in an effort to block an increase in powers handed to the agency responsible for monitoring Americans’ emails and phone calls.
In the days since the Paris attacks, intelligence heads in the US have called for an increase in the surveillance of communications.
CIA head John Brennan has called for a review of reforms such as USA Freedom Act, claiming that they have created ‘inadvertent or intentional gaps’ in security.
Brennan said that the Paris attacks should serve as a ‘wake up call’ for more digital surveillance in the US, despite the fact that France has much more stringent surveillance programs which did nothing to prevent the attacks.
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