Politics
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential LIbrary in Simi Valley, Calif., Friday, May 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Paul to introduce legislation to prevent phone surveillance, restore Fourth Amendment rights

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul will introduce legislation to prevent the government from searching the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause when the Senate returns to session Friday.

“The revelation that the [National Security Agency] has secretly seized the call records of millions of Americans, without probable cause, represents an outrageous abuse of power and a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution,” Paul said, announcing his intent to introduce the “Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013.”

“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,” he said.

Paul’s bill would halt the National Security Agency’s surveillance of Americans’ phone records and prevent any other “agency of the United States Government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause.”

“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,” Paul added.

Last year a Paul amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012 — which would have extended Fourth Amendment protections to electronic communications by requiring specific warrants to obtain that information — failed to pass a floor vote.

In May, Paul introduced the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act of 2013, which also would extend Fourth Amendment guarantees to electronic communications.

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