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Republican Rand Paul is known as a very outspoken Tea Party member. But his recently filed lawsuit against President Obama is unprecedented. He had been talking about taking legal action for weeks preceding the filing. Yet the lawsuit has raised eyebrows higher than any other of the Kentucky senator’s moves. It attacks the illegal data collection by the NSA that has so far been supported by the president.
Filing the Lawsuit over NSA Surveillance
Senator Paul has filed a lawsuit that has 350,000 other names attached to it. These plaintiffs accuse the president of allowing NSA surveillance to continue illegally. The NSA collects data that is protected by the law. Not only is the accessing of such data as phone records and Internet communications against the law. But the methods that NSA surveillance employs are suspect as well. The lawsuit is based on the premise that these NSA surveillance activities are in violation of the US Constitution’s fourth amendment. This portion of the Bill of Rights protects American citizens against unwarranted searches and seizures. It also states that probable cause must be established before any information can be obtained. Then where the search is conducted and what will be taken must also be openly detailed before it can begin. The fourth amendment also underlines the people’s right to protect themselves against any unreasonable searches and seizures. People do not so far have the means to shield their phone records from NSA surveillance. But they can secure their online communications from the same NSA surveillance with reliable VPN services.
Based on the documents released to the Press by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, NSA surveillance has violated the rights stipulated by the fourth amendment. And so Senator Paul has filed this lawsuit on behalf of the abovementioned 350,000 petitioners. Among those involved in the suit are fellow Tea Party conservatives and FreedomWorks. Paul made a statement announcing the lawsuit at a press conference held in front of a Washington D.C. federal courthouse last Wednesday. He said that the NSA surveillance program has abused citizens on several counts under the fourth amendment. Namely, the NSA surveillance program has facilitated the seizure of personal records without warrants, without justification of probable cause, and without open declaration of who would be searched and precisely what would be taken.
The NSA surveillance program can now no longer be considered a mere controversy protested by privacy organizations. The filing of a lawsuit in itself already lends credibility to the claims as it has passed initial court inspection. There is as yet no mention of a court date. But Keith Alexander, NSA Director General, James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and James Comey, FBI Director, are defendants in the suit along with Barack Obama.