The Daily Banter

Rand Paul Squandered the Only Shot at NSA Reform For a Long, Long Time

The Keystone XL pipeline wasn’t the only piece of legislation that was killed on Tuesday. Make no mistake, it’ll unfortunately be back after the new Congress is sworn in next year, but for now it’s been blocked. The other item on Tuesday’s agenda was the USA Freedom Act, a bill designed to reform the National Security Agency. Naturally, it was successfully filibustered by all but four Republicans and one Democrat. The cloture vote failed, 58 to 42, with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) voting in support of the legislation.

Among other things, the bill would’ve ended bulk collection of electronic metadata by NSA, mandating that telecoms retain that information to be accessible by NSA with a warrant. It would’ve also appointed a citizen advocate on the FISA Court to argue in support of privacy and civil liberties. The entire story is an exercise in how utterly clueless the supporters of Ed Snowden really are, this time squandering the only real chance at NSA reform they’ll likely see in a while.

Regardless, one of the senators who voted to filibuster the legislation was Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), the hero of Snowden disciples everywhere. The bill would’ve only needed Rand Paul and one other senator for cloture. But nope.

To be fair, Paul said he voted to filibuster because the law didn’t go far enough. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense because it suits his well-known duplicity on a wide variety of issues. When he’s kissing the asses of civil liberties people, he can roll out the “it didn’t go far enough” excuse. But when he’s kissing the asses of conservative primary voters in New Hampshire or South Carolina, he can say he’s all for beefing up our national security in the face of threats like ISIS, so he voted against it. A flip-flopper needs to flip-flop. Rand Paul is a slick used-car salesman who’s always on the lookout for opportunistic material with which to trick voters into buying his clown-sized jalopy.

What makes his filibuster vote additionally suspicious is… CONTINUE READING

ht David Benowitz