Paul: NSA practices are unconstitutional, should be subject of hearing

Aug. 18, 2013 at 1:40 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday that the National Security Agency's practices are unconstitutional and should be subject to congressional hearings.

His comments on "Fox News Sunday" come after The Washington Post reported this week that the agency violated privacy rules thousands of times since 2008.

An internal audit from leaker Edward Snowden -- now enjoying asylum in Russia -- also revealed that the agency intercepted phone calls and emails from U.S. citizens during that time, and often did not report the intrusion.

Rand also criticized President Barack Obama for saying that there was appropriate oversight of the NSA program and that there was no abuse of privacy.

"I think that the president fundamentally misunderstands the constitutional separation of powers because the checks and balances are supposed to come from independent branches of government," he said. "So, he thinks that if he gets some lawyers together from the NSA and they do a PowerPoint presentation and tell him everything is OK, that the NSA can police themselves."

Proving wrongdoing in a congressional hearing would also be difficult, he said.

"So, if you were to go sit down in a room and the NSA tells you why they're doing all these things correctly, you have no means of challenging that. You have no means of alternative information," he said.

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