Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, there comes a time in the history of nations when fear and complacency allow power to accumulate and liberty and privacy to suffer. That time is now. And I will not let the PATRIOT Act–the most unpatriotic of acts–go unchallenged. At the very least, we should debate. We should debate whether we are going to relinquish our rights or whether we are going to have a full and able debateover whether we can live within the Constitution or whether we have to go around the Constitution. The bulk collection of all Americans’ phone records all of the time is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Second Appeals Court has ruled it is illegal. The President began this program by Executive order. He should immediately end it through Executive order.
For over a year now, he has said the program is illegal. Yet, he does nothing. He says: Well, Congress can get rid of the PATRIOT Act; Congress can get of the bulk collection. Yet, he has the power to do it at his fingertips. He began this illegal program. The court has informed him that the program is illegal. He has every power to stop it. Yet, the President does nothing. Justice Brandeis wrote that the right to be left alone is the most cherished of rights, most prized among civilized men.
The Fourth Amendment incorporates this right to privacy. The Fourth Amendment incorporates this right to be left alone. When we think about the bulk collection of records, we might ask, well, maybe I am willing to give up my freedom for security. Maybe if I just give up a little freedom, I will be more safe. Most of the information that comes on whether you are safe comes from people who have secret information you are not allowed to look at. So you have to trust the people–you have to trust those in our intelligence community that they are being honest with you, that when they tell you how important these programs are and that you must give up your freedom, you must give up part of the Fourth Amendment–when they tell you this, you have to trust them.
The problem is, we are having a great deal of difficulty trusting these people. When James Clapper, the head of the intelligence agency, the Director of National Intelligence, was asked point blank, are you collecting the phone records of Americans in bulk, he said no. It turns out that was dishonest. Yet, President Obama still has him in place. So when they say how important these programs are and how they are keeping us safe from terrorists, we are having to trust someone who lied to a congressional committee. It is a felony to lie to a congressional committee, and nothing has been done about this.