Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is launching a class action lawsuit against President Obama and the heads of the National Security Agency over the agency’s mass surveillance programs.
Paul announced the lawsuit at a press conference on Wednesday, stating that he has joined with Matt Kibbe, president of the libertarian nonprofit FreedomWorks, to stop the NSA’s data-mining surveillance programs. The lawsuit specifically names President Barack Obama, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Director of National Security Agency Keith Alexander, and FBI Director James Comey as defendants. Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will serve as legal counsel throughout the suit.
“I am filing a lawsuit against President Barack Obama because he has publicly refused to stop a clear and continuing violation of the Fourth Amendment,” Paul said in a statement. “The Bill of Rights protects all citizens from general warrants. I expect this case to go all the way to the Supreme Court and I predict the American people will win.”
The lawsuit will seek the end of the NSA’s policy of collecting telephone metadata on calls placed in the United States and abroad. Paul and Kibbe ultimately hope to “purge” the NSA’s databases of all such metadata, they said in a statement to Politico.
Kibbe says that while the lawsuit is launched at President Obama, it is not a matter of party politics but commitment to the Fourth Amendment.
“This class action suit isn’t about Republican versus Democrat, or progressive versus conservative,” Kibbe said in a statement. “This is about defending the basic civil liberties of every American from a government that has crossed the line.”
Paul explained the need for such a lawsuit in detail in an editorial for CNN. Paul claimed that the NSA’s collection of telephone metadata makes the basic assumption that every American citizen is a criminal by default.
"Since 2006, the NSA has been spying on us, treating American citizens as no more than common criminals, casting suspicion on honest people with not even a whisper of criminal activity about them,” Paul wrote. “These are not the actions befitting a country that was once held up as a paragon of freedom and a model for the rest of the world.”
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.