Paul: 'Authoritarians' like Christie want to reinstate data collection

Story highlights

  • Rand Paul says bulk data collection violates Americans' rights and won't stop terror attacks.
  • Christie and some other Republican candidates called for restoring the program in the wake of attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

Washington (CNN)Rand Paul said Monday that voters should be wary of "authoritarians" like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who want to reinstate bulk data collection in the wake of recent terrorist attacks.

"There will always be authoritarians like Christie who want you to give up your liberty for a false sense of security," Paul told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day."
"But the facts of the matter are this: the court just below the Supreme Court has ruled this program to be illegal. Two bipartisan commissions have said we haven't stopped any terrorist attacks from it, and there's a real fundamental question that is a constitutional question -- can you allow the indiscriminate collection of everyone's data, everyone's private information, without a warrant?"
    Christie and some other Republican candidates have called for reinstating the National Security Agency's heavily criticized bulk data collection program after the San Bernardino shootings and the terrorists attack in Paris.
    Paul was responding to Christie's comments Sunday, on CBS' "Face the Nation," that "it was so wrong for Congress and the President to pull back on our surveillance capability with the NSA, so wrong to demoralize our intelligence community through the report they issued at the end of this last year."
    The NSA ended its bulk collection of phone records last month roughly two years after former contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of the program.
    The data collection program has divided the Republican field over the issues of privacy and constitutional safeguards and tools for law enforcement in the fight against terrorism.
    Jeb Bush, who has fallen to the back of the Republican pack, also called for a full reinstatement of the data collection program, saying Monday there was "no violation of civil liberties."
    "It's an essential part of the national security of our country...there's no violation of civil liberties. There's all sorts of protections in place," Bush said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."