Politics & Policy

Jeb Bush: Rand Paul Is ‘Wrong’ About Patriot Act

Rand Paul on the Senate floor on Wednesday. (via C-SPAN)

Former governor Jeb Bush (R., Fla.) dismissed Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster against the mass collection of phone records authorized by the Patriot Act, saying today that the National Security Agency program is constitutional.

“I think he’s wrong in saying that this is unconstitutional or saying that people’s freedoms have been violated by the Patriot Act,” Bush said in New Hampshire. “I think we need to reauthorize the Patriot Act, and put aside who’s speaking where. The simple fact is that it’s been an effective tool to keep us free and to keep us from being attacked by Islamic terrorists.”

Paul described the legislation allowing the programs as “the most unpatriotic of acts” during a ten-hour speech against the reauthorization of the bill yesterday.

“The bulk collection of all Americans’ phone records all of the time is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment,” he said on the Senate floor.

EDITORIAL: Save the Patriot Act, Don’t Neuter It

Paul was joined on the Senate floor by several other senators, including Utah Republican Mike Lee and Ted Cruz of Texas — a rival of Paul’s for the GOP presidential nomination.

#related#“Standing here with the senator from Kentucky, with the senator from Utah at 11:40 p.m., I’m reminded of the movie the Blues Brothers, saying ‘Jake we gotta get the band back together again,’” said Cruz, who also supported Paul’s 2013 filibuster in denunciation of President Obama’s drone program. “I’m reminded of previous evenings standing here with this same band of brothers in the wee hours of the morning.”

Cruz and Lee support the USA Freedom Act, which, according to the Heritage Foundation, stipulates that the federal officials must convince a judge they have “a reasonable, articulable suspicion that a phone number is associated with international terrorism,” before reviewing someone’s phone records​. Paul believes they should be required to meet the higher standard of probable cause and fears that the bill will provide the NSA program with firmer legal footing than it currently enjoys.

In New Hampshire, Bush suggested he might be open to reforms such as those favored by Cruz and Lee.

“If it could be updated, modified, fine,” he said of the Patriot Act. “But it needs to be reauthorized.”

— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review Online.

Editor’s Note: This piece has been amended since its initial publication.

Most Popular


Ilhan Omar’s Big Lie

In a viral exchange at a congressional hearing last week, the new congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who is quickly establishing herself as the most reprehensible member of the House Democratic freshman class despite stiff competition, launched into Elliott Abrams. She accused the former Reagan official ... Read More

Questions for Those Who Believed Jussie Smollett

The “we reported the Jussie Smollett case responsibly” contention has been blasted to smithereens. Twitter accounts and headlines in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times reported as fact Jussie Smollett’s wildly implausible allegations, and many other journalists did so as ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More