Rand Paul: Hillary Clinton Is a ‘Big Proponent of the Surveillance State’

A preview of a 2016 campaign argument?

National Journal
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Brendan Sasso
Jan. 28, 2014, 8:52 a.m.

Sen. Rand Paul offered a pos­sible pre­view of the 2016 pres­id­en­tial cam­paign Tues­day.

The Ken­tucky Re­pub­lic­an ar­gued that the GOP could win over young voters and in­de­pend­ents by op­pos­ing the Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency’s sur­veil­lance powers, and took a swipe at pos­sible Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate Hil­lary Clin­ton.

“I think in 2016 if you had a more liber­tari­an-lean­ing Re­pub­lic­an, and you had someone like Hil­lary Clin­ton, I think you could ac­tu­ally com­pletely trans­form where people think they are and what party people think they have al­le­gi­ance for,” Paul said at the State of the Net con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton.

“Has she said any­thing about pri­vacy? She’s been a big pro­ponent of the sur­veil­lance state and the NSA.”

Paul is widely be­lieved to be mulling a White House bid and Clin­ton, the former sec­ret­ary of State, would be con­sidered the fa­vor­ite to win the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion if she runs.

Paul’s com­ments ap­pear to rep­res­ent a grow­ing con­sensus with­in the Re­pub­lic­an Party about the NSA. The Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee ap­proved a res­ol­u­tion last week with near-un­an­im­ous sup­port con­demning the agency’s sur­veil­lance prac­tices. 

In a dis­cus­sion at Col­gate Uni­versity last year, Clin­ton called for a “full, com­pre­hens­ive dis­cus­sion” about the NSA, ac­cord­ing to a Wall Street Journ­al re­port.

But she also de­fen­ded the agency, say­ing, “From my own ex­per­i­ence, the in­form­a­tion-gath­er­ing and ana­lyz­ing has proven very im­port­ant and use­ful in a num­ber of in­stances.”

At Tues­day’s con­fer­ence, Paul said he hopes his law­suit against the NSA, which he has yet to file, will ul­ti­mately reach the Su­preme Court. A fed­er­al judge in Wash­ing­ton ruled last month that the NSA’s bulk col­lec­tion of mil­lions of phone re­cords is un­con­sti­tu­tion­al, but a fed­er­al judge in New York up­held the pro­gram in a sep­ar­ate law­suit. Both cases are be­ing ap­pealed.

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