White House press secretary Josh Earnest not-so-subtly called out Republican Kentucky senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul for his 10-hour long filibuster of the NSA’s metadata surveillance practices, accusing him of putting “political ambition” above national security. (VIDEO: Rand Paul On Info Obtained By Patriot Act: ‘I Think It Should Be Purged’ )
EARNEST: All the hard work’s been done on this. I mean, it’s complicated policy, it’s working through the partisan politics that’s involved, trying to understand the technology that’s involved, the stakes are really high when it comes to our national security and when it comes to civil liberties of the American people. All of that’s been worked out, because of the President and his national security team working effectively with Democrats and Republicans.
The other thing I would point out is that every single Democrat in the United States Senate voted for this compromise. And right now what we’re seeing is a difference of opinion of the Republican side of the aisle. At some point, the political ambitions of individual members of the U.S. Senate are going to have to come second to the national security of the United States.
UPDATE: The Rand Paul campaign shot back at the White House in an emailed statement:
“Illegal spying is unconstitutional and unnecessary, period, and President’s Obama abandonment of his promise to end illegal surveillance is another debased example of a White House that prioritizes their own power over protecting the liberty of the American people. Sen. Paul is committed to keeping America safe from terrorists while at the same time preserving our rights and freedoms. Law enforcement groups have said domestic bulk data collection has not resulted in a single terrorist arrest or thwarted terror plot and our courts have ruled to be illegal – it’s time to end it.”