Senator Sues Feds on Behalf of 'Everyone with a Phone'
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and a top Tea Party leader are suing their own government on behalf of "everyone in America who has a phone."
"We're filing suit against the president of the United States in defense of the Fourth Amendment," Sen. Paul said.
The suit aims to stop the kind of vast sweeping up of Americans' phone records without suspicion or warrant by agencies like the National Security Agency.
Paul said he is suing to stop, "precisely the kind of overreach we fought a revolution over."
Americans are Outraged
After he filed the lawsuit, Paul told reporters they exepct the case to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"There's a huge and growing swell of protest in this country of people who are outraged that their records would be taken without suspicion, without a judge's warrant," Paul said.
So who has been hurt by these vast phone record grabs and thus has standing to sue? If you don't use a phone, not you, said former Virginia Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli, the lead counsel on this case.
"But if you have used a phone in the last five years, this case is about protecting your rights against your own government and their invasion of your privacy," Cuccinelli stated.
"We have a class action lawsuit that could involve conceivably 300 million to 400 million people," Paul asserted.
Matt Kibbe, who leads the Tea Party group FreedomWorks, joined the suit along with Paul.
"This isn't Republican vs. Democrat. This isn't about the Obama administration," Kibbe told reporters. "This is about a government that's crossed a line. We want to put that genie back in the bottle because the Bill of Rights is a sacred document to everybody that's an American citizen."
Pushing the Gov't Back
Cuccinelli said if his clients prevail in court, "We will have pushed the federal government back across the line of trampling the Constitution yet again."
The White House shot back that the record grabs are completely legal.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "We believe that the program as it exists is lawful. We're not alone. It has been found to be lawful by multiple courts. And it receives oversight from all three branches of government, including the Congress."
Info Doesn't Help Catch Terrorists
Meanwhile, Paul asserted if he and his allies win their lawsuit, this shouldn't hurt the War against Terror one bit.
"There's no evidence that there's been one terrorist caught or detained or prevented uniquely on this information," Paul stated.
The senator and Tea Party favorite added, "I'm not against the NSA. I'm not against spying. I'm not against looking at phone records. I just want you to go to a judge, have a person's name and individualize the warrant. That's what the Fourth Amendment says."
"We're going to be posting our complaint on Constitutiondefensefund.com and encouraging every American to participate in this conversation. It's too important not to," Kibbe said.
Paul raised the question that if the federal government will use the IRS to target and harass Tea Party groups and others, it could likely use the NSA and law enforcement agencies to do the same.