Paul On NSA Speech: "I Didn't Hear Any Lessening Of The Spying On Americans"

Jan 17, 2014

Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul are reacting to the set of modest changes to the NSA proposed by President Barack Obama Friday.

Credit Huffington Post

In an address at the Justice Department, the president promised the NSA will now only review phone calls that are two steps removed from a terrorist organization rather than three and eventually create a third-party organization to hold onto telephone metadata.

"And I have directed the attorney general to work with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court so during this transition period, the database can be queried only after a judicial finding or in the case of a true emergency," the president said.

The president also pledge to direct the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to propose privacy reforms to a different program that targets foreign communications.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday he expect reforms will be enacted, but he refrained from commenting until he’s presented with the specifics.

"We're going to take a look at what he recommends and Congress is going to have some suggestions as well," McConnell told reporters.

Sen. Paul, meanwhile, is  filing suit against the Obama administration over the data-collection policies.

"I didn't hear any lessening of the spying on Americans or collecting records of Americans. I heard that 'Trust me, I'm going to put some more safeguards in place, but I'm going to keep right on collecting every American's records.' This is something that's going to have to be decided by the Supreme Court," Sen. Paul told CNN Friday.

For now, Obama’s proposals will be handed over to Congress, where an unlikely coalition of Tea Party members and progressive Democrats are pressing for more sweeping changes to the NSA.