Last week, there was much discussion over “unmasking,” where Obama administration officials flagrantly violated the constitutional rights of American citizens, including those of their political opponents.
To be sure, this behavior was abhorrent, and I gladly participated in putting this information out in public for all to see.
Outrage erupted from my friends on the Republican side — how could they have done this? Who let them? Who will pay the price for this?
I’m heartened by this outrage. But will it translate into true action to protect the privacy of American citizens, or is it just faux partisan games?
You see, last week, we also debated legislation in the Senate dealing with warrantless surveillance and the FISA courts. I’m afraid I didn’t hear much about that from many of my GOP colleagues; in fact, most of them voted to continue to give this unconstitutional power to presidents and administrations.
This is a mistake. The lesson we should all be taking away from this is not “My political opponents should not be able to spy on me without a warrant.” The lesson should be that “NO ONE should be allowed to spy without a warrant.” The difference is not small.
Madison warned us about giving government power:
“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.”
Put simply – don’t take for yourself a power that you wouldn’t give to your worst enemy. It’s just that simple.
For opponents of concentrated power, like myself, the issue isn’t just about the Democrat conspiracy to take down Trump. The issue is about unconstitutional eavesdropping.
I don’t simply want Biden and others prosecuted. I want the system fixed so unmasking doesn’t happen short of a real warrant from an Article III constitutional court.
Too bad that few on the left care about the Bill of Rights in the era of Trump.
Rand Paul serves as the junior United States senator from Kentucky.