The news that the National Security Agency may have been eavesdropping on private conversations
between members of Congress while spying on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is appalling, GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul said Wednesday.
"This is exactly why we need more NSA reform," the Kentucky senator, who famously filibustered for hours while taking a stand against the NSA, said on Fox News' "Fox & Friends"
However, the debate has been going the other way since the San Bernardino shootings, said Paul, but in reality, "what we need is more targeted surveillance."
"I'm not against surveillance," said Paul. "But I am against indiscriminate surveillance."
He told the program that Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, a frequent critic of the NSA's data collection practices, has been issuing warnings for years "that when we listen in on foreigners' conversations when they're talking to Americans, that we're scooping up tens of thousands of conversations of Americans, and that this is a real problem."
"It's a real invasion of our privacy," said Paul. "You can see how we stifle speech if you're going to eavesdrop on congressmen, and that it might stifle what they say or who they communicate with. And this is a big, big problem. And it's not a new one, but we absolutely need more controls over the NSA and more controls on our intelligence agencies."
Also on the program, Paul spoke about his concerns with the Jan. 14 debate, when Fox Business Network will allow just six people on the main debate stage. Paul had said he was going to stay out of the debate if he was going to be on the second stage, but now it appears he may be on the main stage after all — but that doesn't mean he likes the rules.
"I am concerned about fairness," said Paul. "At the very last minute with only three weeks to go, what kind of message do you think it tells the public that basically the media gets to choose who the candidates are that will be considered?"
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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