Rand Paul and the NSA: Low Hanging Fruit

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Here contributor Rich Scheck takes note of the words of Sen. Rand Paul, who is helping lead the attack on government unconstitutional spying. But can Paul actually hope to accomplish anything against this governmental Goliath? That’s Scheck’s question…and ours.


Rand Paul and the NSA:  Low Hanging Fruit

by Rich Scheck

March 20, 2014

Rand Paul gave an excellent speech today at UC Berkeley regarding the abuse of power by the NSA and CIA.

The Kentucky Senator clearly displayed the qualities necessary for a presidential run in 2016.

His topic is quite compelling, especially because it crosses the partisan divide and touches all of us.

Senator Paul’s rhetorical display was well received by the students and shows the potential to transcend the false left/right paradigm that has contributed so greatly to gridlock in D.C.

By focusing on the shared vulnerability of an entire generation of cell-phone and computer users to intrusions on their privacy, he cleverly picked an issue attractive to a broad section of the electorate.

But his promise to push for a “bi-partisan, independent, far-reaching Church-style committee to investigate government abuses” raises expectations that will likely prove difficult to achieve.

For data collection from cell phones and computers represent the low hanging fruit on the tree of contemporary government wrong-doing.

Many recent accounts document the depth and pervasiveness of corruption which is beyond the ability of most ordinary citizens to contemplate much less respond to.

Yes, we have to begin somewhere:  after the Snowden revelations, the lies of Clapper and now the alleged CIA spying on Congress, Senator Paul has made an impressive start in his call to curb the excesses of Big Government.

And Senate Majority Leader Reid has now signaled his willingness to take action regarding Senator Feinstein’s charges against the CIA.

All of this is very encouraging—especially if it goes beyond mere words.  The trouble will come in implementing the key terms:  independent and far-reaching.

Researchers of modern history have been down this road before with the Warren Commission, Watergate, Iran-Contra, Whitewater, the 9/11 investigation, Fast and Furious, Benghazi and many other scandals affecting Administrations from both parties.

These have universally left much to be desired with much covered up and ineffective suggestions for reform which have devolved into the present constitutional crisis.

These current examples pose enormous hurdles for the ambitious and noble-sounding son of Libertarian stalwart, Ron Paul:

  1. HR 428:  the bi-partisan effort to have President Obama release the 28 pages redacted from the 2002 Congressional Inquiry on 9/11 which implicates foreign governments in the attacks.
  2. The use of professional agitators, CIA agents, private military contractors, NGOs and State Department Officials to systematically destabilize sovereign nations such as Libya, Egypt, Syria and now The Ukraine.
  3. The investigation of CIA torture under President Bush which is the basis for CIA spying on Senator Feinstein’s committee.
  4. Benghazi from where the CIA was sending weapons and fighters to overthrow Assad in Syria at the time Ambassador Stevens and 3 others were killed in 2012.

These and other ultra sensitive matters of state secrecy for which the public is entitled to the truth have so far escaped full exposure.

With his bold pronouncement today and his appeal to the large generational cohort who rely on modern technology as a routine part of their lives, time will tell whether Senator Paul will take the conversation wider and deeper to eliminate the many abuses of power associated with the national security state.

Can he raise his torch of liberty higher than the low hanging fruit of NSA data collecting?  Can Mr. Paul shed the light of truth further up the power pyramid and remove the cancer growing at the core of our institutions?  Will his “far-reaching” inquiry flush out the corruption—dare I say evil?—nested at the of our government?

God speed to Rand Paul and all those willing to undertake this essential and perilous task of restoring integrity, freedom and the rule of law to our once great Republic!


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