14 February, 17:40

Mega lawsuit over metadata: Rand Paul sues Obama

By Andrew Hiller

WASHINGTON (VR) – Kentucky Republican Sen. (and Tea Party favorite) Rand Paul has joined a suit along with 350,000 petitioners that is suing President Obama over the National Security Agency’s controversial surveillance tactics. The suit, filed in conjunction with the conservative agitation group FreedomWorks, charges that the NSA’s bulk collection program represents a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, or CEPR, says that Americans have reason to be concerned.

"We have a huge track record over the whole last century of our government using this information to go after dissidents of various types, especially people who are critical of U.S. foreign policy."

The collection of metadata and the pursuit of peaceful protest groups can act to distract intelligence agencies from the real threats, according to Weisbrot.

"Well, there was an example at the Boston Marathon bombing where both the local authorities in coordination with the FBI were more focused on these anti-war groups like Code Pink and Veterans for Peace and as a result, you know, they had intelligence that was dumped in their lap on the Boston Marathon bombers and they didn't even look at it."

While some have stated that the suit being brought is a political stunt and a vehicle to gain Senator Paul attention towards a potential presidential bid, Weisbrot argues that the case has clear merit and that judges have already ruled against the constitutionality of the National Security Agency Program.

"This is the kind of thing that people are worried about. They know that if you give the state this authority, unbridled authority, to spy on everything, it doesn't just, you know, possibly, lead to abuses. It's been the basis of abuses for the last hundred years."

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