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Rand Paul and the Constitution

rand-paulIt seems like Rand Paul has a new weapon in his arsenal to becoming a household name.  On February 12, 2014, he filed a class action lawsuit against the Obama administration and more specifically, the NSA.  He is claiming that the NSA’s use of phone metadata is illegal because the NSA should not be able to use one single search warrant to gather the information on every single phone record in the US all the time.

What is the NSA doing?

In 2013, ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden started leaking security information relating to NSA surveillance tactics.  Out of his leaks, it was determined that the NSA was collecting metadata, including phone numbers, dates and times from all phone calls originating in the United States.  The government claims the actions are legal under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.  However, recent speculation indicates that the NSA is probably not collecting most information related to cell phone or internet-based calls and can only track landline calls due to the technology involved.  The NSA will not confirm or deny how many phone calls or what types of phone calls they actually track. 

However, it is well known that the NSA only tracks the metadata.  That is – they capture the information about the phone call and do not capture or track the actual content of the call.  They get a secret blanket warrant to cover a specific period of time, most likely 90 days, in order to collect the data in their own database and keep renewing this secret blanket warrant.

In addition, although the phone metadata is being collected, the NSA is supposed to only search the database for a particular number after they have been granted a specific warrant for that number.

Lawsuits against Obama

Although this may be the most well known lawsuit, it is not the only one that has been filed.  At this time, it is the only one with class-action status.  Other lawsuits include one by Larry Klayman, a politically-conservative lawyer, the ACLU and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Latest Information:  Did Rand Paul plagiarize when writing the lawsuit?

A representative for Bruce Fein, a well-known constitutional lawyer based in Washington, DC is now claiming that the Rand Paul lawsuit contains Fein’s intellectual work without Fein being paid or credited for his work. The claims also state that Fein worked on the lawsuit, but is no longer listed as an author of the lawsuit.  Rand Paul’s team claims this is not true and that Fein was not only part of the legal team, but was fully paid for his work.

Rand Paul has been caught plagiarizing in his speeches before, so – if true – this new information does not bode well for the Kentucky Senator, although it probably won’t be enough to stop this lawsuit or other similar ones.