Rand Paul: FBI Bias Against Trump Shows Why We Need FISA Reform


Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, joins John Dickerson in his first Sunday morning interview since a violent altercation with his neighbor to discuss Congress' 2018 legislative priorities. At the top of Paul's list of legislative priorities is FISA reform

DICKERSON: Let me ask you a couple of policy questions on the -- we talked about Section 702 of the FISA with the CIA director.

You have held up a nomination of John Demers, and you`re also talking about filibustering this. Why?

PAUL: Well, 702 is supposed to get information on foreigners.

And so we have a lower-than-constitutional standard. We say, well, the Constitution doesn`t apply to people in other countries. And I agree with that.

So, we collect a massive amount of information on foreigners. But they talk to Americans. So, after you gather millions and billions of bits of information, it turns out there`s a lot of Americans in the database.

What we don`t want to happen is that domestic law enforcement, policemen and FBI, are looking in a database that was collected without constitutional protections.

And let`s say they decide to prosecute medical marijuana people in Colorado, which is legal in Colorado, but now the federal government is talking about changing their policy and going after them.

What if they're searching a database that was collected on foreigners to get incidental information on medical marijuana in Colorado? I have a real problem with that.

So, they should have to get a warrant before they look at that. And, really, none of that information should be used for domestic crime, because it was gathered with a less-than-constitutional standard.

DICKERSON: So, you have a problem with it. What are you going to do?

PAUL: Well, we will try to stop them.

The people on the other side, the CIA director and others, they want permanent reauthorization, no reform. And when you ask them, are you using this for domestic crime, there`s a little bit of -- they`re not -- they kind of say, well, we don`t do it very often, but they won`t tell you whether they are sort of looking at the information and then not presenting in court, but using that information to develop what`s called parallel construction, develop cases.

They want just permanent reauthorization, which to me means no more oversight by Congress. The reason we need more oversight is that people -- as Madison said, men are not angels. And we have seen recently how we have had some people in the FBI that had bias against the president.

We also have seen now people in the Department of Justice who were married to people that were doing opposition research on Trump. So, you can see how people are human, and bias could enter into this.

And the history of the CIA and the FBI are not without blemish. The Hoover years are a great tarnish. We also had civil rights activists in the 60s illegally spied upon. We had Vietnam protesters illegally spied upon.

And we had this great to-do, the Church Commission, back in the 70s. And FISA was supposed to rein that in. But now many of us, Senator Wyden and I have, in a bipartisan way, looked at this and said, my goodness, we have to defend the Americans' right to privacy. And right now, we're sort of a minority in the Senate. In the House, though, it's close to 50-50.

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