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Republican Senator Rand Paul has been one of the few vocal critics of the U.S. government’s spying programs. He’s the only presidential candidate that has made NSA spying a central topic of their campaign.
NSA spying is so important to Rand that he’s promised to shut down the NSA data center if he becomes president. After he stops the indiscriminate collection of Americans’ data, he’ll convert the data center into a “Constitutional Center” where the Fourth Amendment will be studied.
“I’m on my way to the airport, but we decided to stop by the NSA facility in Utah. When I become President, we’ll convert it into a Constitutional Center to study the Fourth Amendment! Bulk data collection must end!”
Questions of whether the spying programs were unconstitutional have been swirling since 2013 when Edward Snowden made details about the programs public. Snowden is the NSA contractor who copied large amounts of classified documents onto a thumbdrive and leaked the information to journalists.
For those that are bothered by the NSA spying programs, Paul seems to be the only candidate that would work to stop it. For the Senator, it’s a major problem that affects virtually all Americans.
Last year, Paul filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records. Paul hoped that his class-action lawsuit would bring the issue of bulk collection of phone records to the Supreme Court.
Paul also staged a filibuster to delay the renewing of the Patriot Act, which authorizes bulk data collection. He was only partially successful in his efforts. While Congress decided to let the Patriot Act expire, they replaced it will a very similar bill. The new bill, the USA Freedom Act, put a few more restrictions on how the government conducts its spying.
If Rand Paul were elected president, there’s no reason to doubt that the libertarian would shut down the NSA data centers. His past efforts have shown just how serious an issue indiscriminate spying on American citizens is to the Senator from Kentucky.
After some early success on the campaign trail, much of Rand’s thunder has been taken away. Donald Trump is stealing some voters who would most likely support Paul otherwise. Since Trump is much louder and entertaining than Paul, it’s unlikely that he (or any of the other Republican candidates) can start beating Trump in the polls.