Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) announced Thursday he will introduce a bill to stop government agencies from collecting the phone records of citizens without a search warrant following reports that the National Security Agency had collected phone data on millions of Americans.
Paul rolled out the "Fourth Amendment Restoration Act," saying the NSA’s actions represent "an outrageous abuse of power and a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution."
"I have long argued that Congress must do more to restrict the Executive’s expansive law enforcement powers to seize private records of law-abiding Americans that are held by a third-party," Paul said. "The bill restores our Constitutional rights and declares that the Fourth Amendment shall not be construed to allow any agency of the United States government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause."
The Guardian reported Wednesday night that it had obtained a secret court order granting the agency power to collect phone metadata of millions of Verizon customers.
The White House and other members of Congress downplayed the significance of the court order Thursday, characterizing it as a routine and necessary part of America’s counter-terrorism efforts.
"I know that people are trying to get to us," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) told reporters. "This is the reason why the FBI now has 10,000 people doing intelligence on counterterrorism. This is the reason for the national counterterrorism center that’s been set up in the time we’ve been active. its to ferret this out before it happens. "It’s called protecting America."