In a blistering statement, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., says President Obama has "sunk to a new low" after reports the National Security Agency has collected millions of U.S. citizen's telephone records.
A story in The Guardian revealed the practice and shows a court order requiring Verizon to provide the NSA with information about calls in its system on an "ongoing, daily basis" from inside county as well as between U.S. customers and people in foreign countries.
The White House is defending the practice as a tool to combat terrorism, but civil liberties advocates say the practice is similar to NSA overreach under President George W. Bush in 2006.
Paul says the president is abusing his executive power, but that the Democratic-controlled Senate failed to put Fourth Amendment protections in the post-9/11 surveillance laws.
From Paul's office:
The National Security Agency's seizure and surveillance of virtually all of Verizon's phone customers is an astounding assault on the Constitution. After revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted political dissidents and the Department of Justice seized reporters' phone records, it would appear that this administration has now sunk to a new low.