On Tuesday's 'Morning Joe' on MSNBC, Sen. Rand Paul said that civil libertarians must stand up against a surveillance state which can be abused in the way that Obama admin national security adviser Susan Rice allegedly was able to when she spied on the communications of her successor, Gen. Mike Flynn. Flynn was subsequently the victim of a classified leak which forced him to leave his position in the Trump administration.
"We don't have wires in our phones anymore -- no one actually taps wires, but for the most part we use the term wiretapping to mean eavesdropping... Now we know that someone in the Obama administration was eavesdropping, and specifically searching the databank looking for Trump people. That is a big deal," he said.
PAUL: I think it's a mistake to downgrade and say it is no big deal. It is a huge deal that we are collecting millions of Americans phone calls and that someone can go to a keyboard and put your name in and search it without a warrant.
This is an illegal, warrantless search. This is the kind of stuff that is rife for abuse from either party. And Joe had it exactly right when he said if Dick Cheney did this to the Obama administration, Bill and every other leftist in the country would be on the other side of this issue.
BRZEZINSKI: Senator, you just--
PAUL: This is not a partisan issue.
BRZEZINSKI: But you know what, it's very, very different thing to say someone in the Obama administration was surveilling was listening to specific conversations. We just simply don't know that.
PAUL: Well, here's the thing is you can order the specific, you know, listening device. Or you can say you know what, we already have it and it's this amazing reverse targeting. And we have millions of people in a database and I could be Susan Rice and go down and type 'Donald Trump' or 'General Flynn' into a database and boom--
BRZEZINSKI: Do you know that happened?
PAUL: --is that not the same as ordering the surveillance? They know it exists. Look, every business, every international businessman or woman who talks overseas is in that database. Do we want political officials to be able to type in the name of Bill Gates and find out they have a deal going on in Europe?
PRESS: OK but those things are supposed to be masked, that's just the point.
PAUL: I believe Susan Rice abused this system and she did it for political purposes. She needs to be brought in and questioned under oath.
BRZEZINSKI: OK, you believe that but none of us here including Senator with all due respect, know that.
PAUL: Bring her in, ask her under oath. Ask her under oath.
BRZEZINSKI: So let's just be very careful here. And I'm not defending Susan Rice. I'm not at all.
PAUL: Ask her whether President Obama ordered this or whether he knew about it. That is a big deal. If the outgoing administration was actually, literally sifting through things and part of his administration already said we were going to scatter, we were going to get as much information, we were going to scatter it out there publically to try to harm the Trump administration.
This was a witch hunt that began with the Obama administration. Sour grapes on the way out the door. They were going to use the intelligence apparatus to attack Trump and I think they did.
GEIST: Senator Paul, you had an audience with President Trump, a golf game--
BRZEZINSKI: Just recently, a couple of days ago.
GEIST: Just a couple of days ago.
BRZEZINSKI: And you sound like this. It's interesting.
GEIST: First of all, who won when the two of you played, sir?
PAUL: Well, the first thing I will admit is the president is very good--
BRZEZINSKI: Oh my God.
PAUL: And of the foursome he probably was the best of the foursome. But we did have a wager and the president was my partner. And the wager was this: if our team won that you know I'd just be on board, I'd throw out everything I'd said over the last month--
PAUL: And I would be all in for the plan. But as it were, the match wound up tied. And since we were tied I'm still wanting it to happen.