Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Paul vs. Christie in the first Republican debate

Rand Paul and Chris Christie Clash on NSA Spying in the Republican Debate - The Atlantic - Conor Friedersdorf:

August 7, 2015 - "One of the biggest clashes in the Republican debate Thursday night came after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was asked about his past attacks on Senator Rand Paul. The two men disagree about an NSA program that spied on tens of millions of innocent Americans by logging all phone calls they dialed and received. Paul, a leading critic of the phone dragnet, has argued that it flagrantly violates the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures....

“'Do you really believe you can assign blame to Senator Paul just for opposing the bulk collection of people's phone records in the event of a terrorist attack?” a moderator asked Thursday.... 'Yes, I do,' [Christie] said. 'And I'll tell you why: because I'm the only person on this stage who's actually filed applications under the Patriot Act, who has gone before the Foreign Intelligence Service court, who has prosecuted, investigated, and jailed terrorists in this country after September 11th.... And I will make no apologies, ever, for protecting the lives and safety of the American people. We have to give more tools to our folks to be able to do that, not fewer, and then trust those people and oversee them to do it the right way.' In fact, the phone dragnet has never stopped a single terrorist attack, during Chris Christie’s tenure as a U.S. attorney or at any other time....

"Paul responded to Thursday’s attack by expressing his preference for targeted surveillance rather than an expansive dragnet that sweeps up everyone’s metadata. 'I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans,” he said. 'The Fourth Amendment was what we fought the Revolution over! John Adams said it was the spark that led to our war for independence. I'm proud of standing for the Bill of Rights. I will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights.'

"Christie was ready with a retort.... 'You know, that's a completely ridiculous answer: "I want to "collect more records from terrorists, but less records from other people." How are you supposed to know?' 'Get a warrant!' Paul said. 'Get a judge to sign the warrant!'

“Listen, Senator, you know, when you're sitting in a subcommittee, just blowing hot air about this, you can say things like that,' he said. 'When you're responsible for protecting the lives of the American people, then what you need to do is to make sure –– to make sure that you use the system the way that it’s supposed to work.'

"In fact, 'get a judge to sign a warrant' is a rather succinct description of how 'the system' is 'supposed to work,' if we define 'the system' as the Constitution rather than national-security officials following their gut instincts. It’s hardly 'blowing hot air' for a senator to call on the executive branch to follow the law....

"On Fox News after the debate, a couple of commentators suggested that Christie won his exchange with Paul. I cannot comment on the style preferences of a GOP voter base that presently prefers Donald Trump to all other candidates. But on substance, Paul easily bested Christie in this exchange.... Christie seems oblivious to the basic logic of the Bill of Rights. The constraints it places on government are not suspended in the aftermath of a terrorist attack –– they are, in fact, most important precisely when a polity is panicked and officials are unusually able to seize excessive power without criticism. His praise for leaders unapologetically jettisoning such constraints in the name of protecting us is more dangerous than any terrorist plot in U.S. history."

Read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/08/rand-paul-and-chris-christie-clash-on-nsa-spying/400718/
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