Rand Paul: I Would Keep NSA, But Only For Foreign Surveillance Purposes

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Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul explains why he would not eliminate the National Security Agency (NSA) and instead revamp its purpose.

"I don't think want to replace it with another system," Paul told Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd on Sunday. " I really think that we could get along with the constitution just fine. We did for over 200 years. You can catch terrorists. Judges will grant warrants."

"I would actually keep the NSA," Paul said. "In fact, I would have the NSA target their activities more and more towards our enemies. I think if you are not spending so much time and money collecting the information of innocent Americans, maybe could have have spent more time knowing one of the Tsarnaev boys, one of the Boston bombers, had gone back to Chechnya."

CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS: Let me move to the Patriot Act. We have reauthorizations up before June 1st. It's unclear if it will get authorized at all before you guys go on your Memorial Day recess. Senator McConnell is talking about a two-month extension. I know you want to filibuster any Patriot Act extension. Would you even support a two-month extension?

SEN. RAND PAUL: Well, the court has ruled that the bulk collection of all phone records all the time is illegal. So really, it ought to stop. If the president is obeying the law, he should stop immediately. He shouldn't be doing this.

I don't think want to replace it with another system. I really think that we could get along with the constitution just fine. We did for over 200 years. You can catch terrorists. Judges will grant warrants. In fact, if you look at the history of our country, judges are actually very much, it's not a difficult lift to get a warrant for most activities you want to be investigating. But the warrant should have someone's name on it. It shouldn't say Verizon and then we shouldn't collect all the customers of Verizon. That's a general warrant. That's one of the things we fought the Revolutionary War over. We wanted individualized warrants.

TODD: You are so critical of the NSA in your book, I have to ask, would you eliminate it if you were president?

PAUL: No, I would actually keep the NSA. In fact, I would have the NSA target their activities more and more towards our enemies. I think if you are not spending so much time and money collecting the information of innocent Americans, maybe could have have spent more time knowing one of the Tsarnaev boys, one of the Boston bombers, had gone back to Chechnya.

We didn't know that even though we had been tipped off by the Russians, we had communicated, we had interviewed him and still didn't know that. Same with the recent jihadist from Phoenix that traveled to Texas and the shooting in Garland. We knew him. We had investigated him, we had put him in jail. I want to spend more time on people we have suspicion of and we have probable cause and less time on innocent Americans. It distracts us from the job of getting terrorists.

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