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ROBERTS: And hello, again, from FOX News in Washington.
More tough questions for the NSA after "The Washington Post" reported this week that the agency violated privacy rules thousands of times since 2008. An internal audit obtained from leaker Edward Snowden reveals that the nation's most secretive spy agency intercepted phone calls and e-mails of American citizens repeatedly during that time and in some case, did not report the unauthorized surveillance.
Now, some lawmakers are promising hearings.
Joining us with reaction is Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee and author of "Government Bullies". Senator, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday." Good to be with you this morning.
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: Good morning.
ROBERTS: It was just a little more than a week ago that the president insisted to the American people that there was appropriate oversight of the NSA surveillance program and that there was no talk of abuses.
Let's play what the president said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: What you're not reading about is the government actually abusing these programs and, you know, listening in on people's phone calls or inappropriately reading people's e-mails. What you are hearing about is the prospect that these could be abused.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Senator Paul, what do you make of that statement now that this new information has come to light?
PAUL: You know, 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. 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.
But one of the fundamental things that our Founders put in place was they wanted to separate police power from the judiciary power. So, they didn't want police to write warrants -- and the NSA are a type of police. They wanted a judiciary, an independent, open judiciary, responsive to the people with open debate in public.
So, I think the constitutionality of these programs need to be questioned and there needs to be a Supreme Court decision that looks at whether or not what they're doing is constitutional or not.
ROBERTS: One of the most striking revelations at this disclosure is that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court does not have jurisdiction to pursue investigations in the compliance. Does that need to change?
PAUL: Well, there's a couple of problems. One, they may not have jurisdiction, but, two, they are only hearing one side of this. 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.
And without the Snowden leak, in fact, we wouldn't know of this internal audit. Without the Snowden leak, we wouldn't have known that James Clapper lied to us, lied to the Senate, and said, oh, that we were not collecting any data on Americans. And it turns, yes, they're collecting billions of pieces of data on American cell phones every day.
ROBERTS: Now, according to this audit, a lot of these violations were apparently unintentional. But the NSA chose not to report some of these violations, as it has the responsibility to.
Does that need to change?
PAUL: Well, see, they chose not to report the program, period. They said they weren't looking at American data or any phone calls and it turns out they are looking at billions of phone calls every day.
So, I think the whole program needs to be reviewed but it can't be an internal audit. There is sort of a similarity between this scandal and all the other scandals. The president thinks that the IRS can police themselves as well and that they'll do an internal audit. He thought the State Department could do an internal audit also.
But the thing is, is nobody ever was fired in the State Department. No one has been fired in the IRS.
The director of national intelligence lied to the Senate and I think greatly damaged the credibility of our American intelligence community. And nothing has happened, there are no repercussions other than he said, well, we had a PowerPoint presentation. We had some lawyers come together who work for the NSA.
The only way to find justice is you have to hear both sides. So, there really needs to be a discussion from people who are a little bit more skeptical of the NSA in an open court I think before the Supreme Court on this -- on this program.
ROBERTS: So, when Congress comes back to Capitol Hill in a couple of weeks do you believe there needs to be congressional hearings into all of this?
PAUL: Yes. And I think legislation could help. The hard part is, is that we only hear one side also. The NSA comes and they tell us our side and tell us their side, tell us how they had foiled all these plots.
But it turns out when there is a discussion back and forth. We really discover that they did not use uniquely use this American program to get anyone. I think they got most of the terrorists or stop most of the terrorists if not all of the plots by good old fashioned police work, and getting warrants and getting wiretaps on people who they were suspicious of, whom they ask a judge about.
And I'm not against that. I'm all for surveillance of spies, I'm just not for this gross bulk gathering of data on all Americans.
ROBERTS: In fact, you are one of the most strident critics of the current NSA surveillance program. But with congressional hearings, with more congressional oversight into that program, with more duty to report compliance in other aspects of it, would you be comfortable with it to let it go ahead?
PAUL: You know, I think it would be better with more oversight but there are some things that they're doing that I fundamentally think are unconstitutional.
Our Founding Fathers, when they wrote the Fourth Amendment, they said a single warrant goes towards a specific individual and what you want to look for. You ask a judge and you say John Smith we think is doing this. We have probable cause to think that he's involved with a crime and you get a warrant.
The Constitution doesn't allow for a single warrant to get a billion phone records. You know, they have a warrant that says, we want all of Verizon's phone calls, all of AT&T's phone calls, all of et cetera, et cetera, they basically I believe, probably, are looking at all the cell phone calls in America every day.
Also, I don't think it's good police work. I think we get overwhelmed with data, we have so much data that we don't notice when Tsarnaev boy goes back to Chechnya, his name is misspelled and we don't know that he's going back. I think we need more people doing specific intelligence data on people who we have suspicion of rather than doing it on suspicion-less searches of all American phone calls.
ROBERTS: Let me switch gears and talk to you about ObamaCare because that is going to be a big topic of discussion when Congress comes back in a couple of weeks, you support the defunding of ObamaCare. But you have recently acknowledged that you don't believe that it's going to happen, it won't get through the Senate. Your only lever then to defund ObamaCare maybe to not approve the continuing resolution or one that includes funding -- that would shut down the government, which you have stated publicly you don't think is a good idea.
So, what do you really have left here, Senator?
PAUL: Well, I don't think shutting down the government is a good idea. But I do think we were elected -- conservatives were elected -- to try to stop this overreach, this government takeover of health care. It's not going to be good for the American public. I think insurance premiums will rise. I think the people they want to help, precisely the working class and the poor who don't have insurance I think still won't have insurance and they're going to have a penalty.
So, what I would say is people want us to stand up and fight. I'm willing to stand up and fight. We should use the leverage of controlling one third of the government. We don't control all the government, but Republicans control the House of Representatives. They should stand up, use that power to at the very least make this law less bad, delay it, do something we can to protect the American public from this law.
Or if we do nothing, we're just saying to the president, "Hey, you get your way." But that's not really what the government is about. When the government is divided, we should use the leverage of controlling at least part of government to try to get the law more to our liking.
ROBERTS: You've talked about trying to pass a bill to defund ObamaCare in the House. It wouldn't pass the Senate. You've tried to come up with some sort of compromise in conference, it might delay implementation of the individual mandate, but there are plenty of bills that have gone to conference that have not worked out in the end. There is not compromise. And so, the laws enacted as it is.
Do you think that is going to happen in this case?
PAUL: You know, I don't know. I think there is always a great desire not to shut the government down and to use that desire to try to get a compromise. And I think you ultimately -- you could in conference committee either make the law less bad or delay the individual mandate or delay the whole thing. Even the president is very concerned about this law because he is delaying the employer mandate, because he is concerned maybe about what will happen in the elections, when it is seen that insurance premiums go up and actually, there are more problems than there are benefits.
ROBERTS: You have said that you would not go for a continuing resolution in the Senate if it includes funding for ObamaCare. But even if you don't vote for it, it will likely pass the Senate. But if your colleagues in The House did exactly the same thing as you suggest you would. That would shut down the government, because the resolution wouldn't pass, which might lead some people to wonder if you are trying to have it both ways, while the House has to have it one way.
PAUL: Well, I think what would happen is if the House voted to defund ObamaCare, it would come to the Senate. I think the Senate would approve ObamaCare funding. It would go to conference committee. And then I think a compromise would be achieved. But it is only achieved if the House stands up, uses and asserts their belief that ObamaCare is a bad law and will hurt people. And if they stand up and are strong, then I think the strength of that leverage would be used to achieve a compromise.
But if we announced to there are many conservatives like myself standing up and saying, look, ObamaCare is going to be a disaster for the country. And as I travel around Kentucky and around the country, people come up to me and they say stand firm, stand up, try to stop this monstrosity, because it is going to be bad for the country.
ROBERTS: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was recently asked in a Nevada public broadcasting system program if the ultimate goal of ObamaCare was to move to a single payer system. He responded, according to Forbes Magazine, yes, yes absolutely yes. If the Senate Majority leader tried to move ObamaCare to single payer system, what would be your response be?
PAUL: Well, you know, I think it is amazing sometimes when politicians are forthright. He's admitted now that that is their goal.
People have to think about it, the goal of single payer, that may well mean that everybody in the country gets Medicaid. And if you're excited about going on Medicaid then you need to vote with Harry Reid and with the president. But I think it is a bad idea. 85 percent of us had health insurance. We should have tried to fix the system for the 15 percent who didn't, instead of destroying it for everybody in the country who actually had good health insurance. Our main concern was the price rising. The president did nothing about prices rising. He's actually made insurance more expensive, because of his mandates and making the insurance cover more items.
ROBERTS: On Egypt, Senator Paul, you issued a statement the other day after the carnage of Wednesday, calling on the president to end foreign assistance to Egypt, but that relationship does a number of things. It insures compliance with the Camp David accords. It allows American military overflights without prior notification. It moves U.S. war ships to the front of the line at the Suez Canal. If you were to remove that military assistance, could you potentially damage your relationship that the United States need to have with a very important ally in the Middle East?
PAUL: Well the law is what the law is. And the president is currently in defiance of the law. The law is very explicit. When there is a military takeover, our aid must end, not that it might end or that he can sit around for months deciding whether he's going to end...
ROBERTS: But there are ways to avoid that. There are ways to avoid that, which the president is pursuing now.
The question is, would ending military aid to Egypt be a prudent thing to do?
PAUL: Yes. Because the thing is, is I don't think we're buying any love of the Egyptian people when they see an American tank on the street, when someone is shot down or rolled over by a tank that was purchased with American money, do you think that buys any friendship with the Egyptian people?
What happens with foreign aid is basically foreign aid to Egypt is more likely to buy a lavish chateau for a dictator or a general in Paris than it is to buy bread for people in Cairo. We are not winning the hearts and minds of those in Egypt. All they do is they see our aid as something that goes to the people that are the dictators and despots that have been taking away their rights for generations. They also see it stolen. Mubarak stole it by the billions. And he had fancy homes all around the world with our money.
It has to end. We don't have it. And it's counterproductive. And it shows nothing but American weakness to continue it. Those who want to continue to say -- they say, oh, we are projecting American power, their projecting exactly the opposite, they're projecting American weakness, because it shows that we are so weak that we will not adhere to their own conditions on this aid. And it's not modulating behavior, because the Egyptians just continue doing the same thing and when they roll tanks over protesters, that is not something I think most Americans would support.
ROBERTS: Time is growing short, senator, we just have a few seconds left. But I would like to look at politics for a second. There has been a public spat between your camp and the Chris Christie camp, which you said earlier this week you'd like to try to diffuse, maybe over a beer. But it continues, because after Governor Christie's statements about the Republican Party should be trying to win elections, not having fights over ideology, one of your senior advisers said if I translate Governor Christie correctly, we shouldn't be the party of ideas, we shouldn't care what we stand for or even if we stand for anything. We reject that idea. Content free, so-called privatism is the problem not the solution.
And then your father, Congressman Ron Paul, came out and said Christie offers nothing.
Do you agree with your father?
PAUL: Well, I would say the party is big enough for both of us. It's big enough for a lot of different Republicans. And in fact, we don't need to -- this all started with him saying we don't have room for libertarian Republicans. The thing is that is how we grow our party. Libertarian Republicans like myself care about the right to privacy. We care about a more moderate and less aggressive foreign policy. And I think that will bring new people to our party.
Look, the party in the northeast is shrinking almost down to nothing. They need to be looking to people with new and different ideas who will attract the youth, independent and even Democrats to our party. So, saying there is no room for us was a big mistake on their part.
I will continue to say we grow the party by embracing some of these issues that have to do with individual freedom and also the right to privacy.
ROBERTS: But again, do you agree with your father when he says Governor Christie offers nothing?
PAUL: What I would say is that there's room for people who believe in bigger government in our party. And I think that some of the things that he seems to have promoted make us believe that he thinks that there is a lot more spending that could go on.
I think that national defense is a priority for our country. And the only way we have enough money for national defense is actually to be very, very frugal with other spending. And that is a valid disagreement we have.
ROBERTS: Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, good to talk to you this morning. Thanks so much for joining us.
PAUL: Thank you.
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