Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says a good replacement for the government collecting telephone metadata on millions of Americans would be to hire 1,000 FBI agents to "go after jihadists."
"All I am asking for is not to collect everybody's records indiscriminately," Paul said on the Glenn Beck Program on Monday.
"I want more time spent — in fact, I told them last night, I would take the billions we're spending collecting all Americans records and I would hire 1,000 new FBI agents to specifically go after the jihadists. The FBI said this week, they don't have enough man power. Let's hire more but let's quit indiscriminately looking at American's records."
Paul opposed any extension of the Patriot Act and made particular emphasis on the National Security Agency's bulk collection of data. The Senate agreed to a modified reauthorization of the Patriot Act that has small changes to intelligence agencies' control over the bulk collection of data.
"One of them is the provision that says that the government can collect records that are relevant to an investigation," Paul said earlier discussing provisions of the Patriot Act that had expired.
"The problem here is that the government has used that provision to collect all the phone records from all Americans. And the court said that this is illegal because how can they be relevant if you are not just getting some of them? If you are getting all of them, how can you say that every record in America is relevant to an investigation? So the court rebuked them, said it's illegal."
Paul said he didn't trust the president "to be looking at all the phone records of every American," because of the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny.
"I don't trust this president to be looking at all the phone records of every American. They haven't been very trustworthy the IRS, or religious groups or tea party groups, I don't really want this president to have all of our phone records. The good news is that in the battle, the one thing that will come out of this week is the government will no longer be collecting in bulk your phone records now there is a question whether the replacement will actually work because I think it's still going to allow the phone companies to have mass collection of and sorting through all of the American phone records so I'm still concerned about it but I think it will be a step forward."
Paul said he didn't have a problem with private companies storing records as long as they only gave it to the government when they had warrant. Paul said he wanted to "look at more records of terrorists."
"No, and in fact, that's the whole argument," said Paul. "I want to look at more records of terrorists. I just don't want to look at records of all Americans for whom no suspicion has been presented."
Paul presented the example of the Boston bombers, saying he would "absolutely" given warrants for their records if he was a judge.
"For example the Boston bomber, if you had come to me the year before the bombing and say well, and let's say I'm a judge, well you will ask me, 'Well, the Russians have tipped us off and we have some evidence that he's going to fly back to Chechnya, would you let us tap his phone?'"
"And I would say 'absolutely, without a heartbeat.'"
"And they would say 'Well, he called 100 people and five of them live in Chechnya, can we trace their phone calls too?'
"'Absolutely,'" Paul said.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Megan Apper is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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