Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has taken things up a notch in his ongoing argument with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over the right to privacy and the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, accusing the Garden State governor of being “flippant” about the Bill of Rights on Fox News’ “Hannity” Monday night.
“We fought the American Revolution over the fact that we didn’t want a warrant to apply to millions of people,” Paul said. “The Fourth Amendment says it has to be a specific person, a place, and you have to name the items and you have to go to a judge and say there’s probable cause.”
“If we’re not going to stand up for the Bill of Rights, we’re going to say at all costs we don’t care about liberty, then I think it’s really a mistake and we’ve gone too far,” he added.
The Kentucky Republican said that he is a supporter of the PATRIOT Act but believes the NSA went beyond the scope of what the act allows and violated Americans’ Fourth Amendment right to privacy through its mass collection of data.
“They are secretly interpreting the Patriot Act to mean something that even the authors of the Patriot Act said they did not intend it to do,” Paul continued. “The Patriot Act does allow them to look at some records, but it still is supposed to be individualized. It’s not supposed to be millions of Americans with one warrant. That is not what the Fourth Amendment intended. It’s also not even what the Patriot Act intended.”
He doesn’t seem to be alone, either. According to a Rasmussen Reports poll released on Tuesday, 46 percent of likely voters support additional restrictions to the NSA’s surveillance programs in the U.S.
Paul and Christie have traded barbs for several days now after the outspoken governor called libertarians like Paul “dangerous” to the party’s future at a forum in Colorado Thursday.
“You can name any number of people and he’s one of them,” Christie said. “These esoteric, intellectual debates — I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation. And they won’t, because that’s a much tougher conversation to have,” referring specifically to the people who lost loved ones during the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
Paul took the debate one step further Sunday, criticizing Christie and New York Rep. Peter King (R) over their requests for federal aide in the wake of Superstorm Sandy last fall.
“If [Christie] really cared about protecting this country, maybe he wouldn’t be in this give me, give me, give me all of the money that you have in Washington – or don’t have – and he would be a little more fiscally responsive and know the way we defend our country, the way that we have enough money for national defense is by being frugal and not by saying give me, give me, give me all the time,” Paul told Hannity.
Watch Paul on “Hannity” below.