Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul claimed it would be “enlightening” for National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden and intelligence director James Clapper to “share a prison cell,” noting “the law has to be applied equally.”
The senator made the comment during an interview with Fox News’ Eric Bolling Friday night, where Paul unveiled a new class-action lawsuit targeting the Obama administration over the NSA’s invasive domestic surveillance program. “The question here is whether or not, constitutionally, you can have a single warrant apply to millions of people,” he explained. “So we thought what better way to illustrate the point than by having hundreds of thousands of Americans sign up for a class-action suit… It’s kind of an unusual class-action suit, in that we think everybody in America who has a cell phone would be eligible for a class-action suit.”
He urged viewers to visit his campaign website RandPac.gov and sign onto the lawsuit, which Paul claimed already has “several hundred thousand people” participating. If successful, the suit would force the Obama administration to protect the Fourth Amendment and the right to privacy. “We want them to understand that we’re not willing to trade our liberty for security,” Paul declared. “We think we can have both, but we’re very upset that this president doesn’t seem to concerned about our right to privacy.”
The probable presidential candidate in 2016 told Bolling he “doesn’t really think” the NSA is monitoring him personally, but noted that the potential for an IRS-style abuse exists. “They’ve already shown that they will use what is supposed to be impartial, the IRS, to do it. Leads me to wonder and worry whether they would use the NSA that way.” He worried about a White House “whitewash” over NSA spying and urged that the issue appear before the Supreme Court.
The senator was finally asked about James Clapper’s lying surveillance testimony before Congress earlier this year. Paul compared the crusade against Snowden’s lawbreaking to the blind eye the administration has turned to Clapper’s own violations. “Lying to Congress is a felony,” he said, “and I don’t think we can pick and choose the law. You’ve got all of these people, like James Clapper and others, beating the table and saying ‘We want to put Edward Snowden in jail for life,’ and yet they don’t want the law applied to themselves? The law has to be applied equally.”
“I frankly think it would be somewhat enlightening for James Clapper and Edward Snowden to share a prison cell,” Paul concluded. “Maybe we’d all learn a little bit from that.”