Republicans scored many goals in their mad rush to pass tax cuts, finally winning a game decades in the making. But while House Speaker Paul Ryan was playing the forward position, Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was playing goalkeeper, seeing to it that the government is kept out of our private electronic communications.
In addition to tax reform, also up for vote last week was the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 (Section 702), which had it been approved, would have allowed the government to continue to spy on and collect electronic communications such as emails or phone calls made by non-U.S. citizens.
But the spying doesn’t stop with just non-U.S. citizens. The act also allows intelligence agencies to spy on Americans too, and without a warrant. These “backdoor searches” allow authorities and law enforcement agencies to take a look into your private life without first going through the legal procedures to do so as they would for any search or seizure, Fourth Amendment be damned.
Remember, it’s for our safety, of course…
…That didn’t stop the intelligence agencies from asking Congress to renew the act before it died in December. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) even went so far as to suggest making warrantless spying permanent law.
For Paul, his answer was a hard “no.” Maybe even a “hell no.”