Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) suggested Sunday night on the Senate floor that his political opponents on NSA surveillance secretly wanted the United States to be attacked "so they can blame it on me."
Paul temporarily blocked the renewal of the NSA's authority to collect metadata Sunday, and the libertarian-leaning Republican presidential hopeful unveiled fiery rhetoric as he occasionally shouted down the legislation.
"People here in town think I'm making a huge mistake," he said. "Some of them, I think, secretly want there to be an attack on the United States so they can blame it on me ... The thing is, there can be attacks even if we use the Constitution, but there have been attacks while collecting your bulk data."
Paul slightly walked back his remarks Monday morning in an interview with Fox News, telling host Bill Hemmer that it was "hyperbole" but he was trying to make a larger point about fear-mongering.
"I think sometimes, in the heat of battle, hyperbole can get the better of anyone," he said. "That may be the problem there. The point I was trying to make is that I think people do use fear to try to get us to give up our liberty."