Rand Paul: ‘Whatever it takes to stop’ Patriot Act reauthorization

new day rand paul full interview_00065416.jpg
Sen. Rand Paul: 'I will filibuster the Patriot Act'
12:34 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said he will do “everything humanly possible” to keep the Senate from reauthorizing the Patriot Act.

The GOP presidential candidate said in an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota that aired Tuesday on “New Day” that he will try to filibuster a reauthorization of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which spawned the National Security Agency’s collection of millions of Americans’ phone records.

A handful of powerful Senate Republicans are pushing to reauthorize the Patriot Act without any reforms. Others in the Senate are pushing the USA Freedom Act, which would reform the Patriot Act’s Section 215 and effectively end bulk data collection. The House quickly passed that bill last week.

But Paul and other privacy hawks want more reforms than those included in that bill, and Paul is calling for the end of that section of the Patriot Act, which is set to sunset at the end of the month.

RELATED: Rand Paul dings NSA for tracking ‘innocent Americans’

“I’ll do whatever it takes to stop it,” said Paul, who was promoting his upcoming book “Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America”.

Paul said he would formally filibuster the bill, requiring 60 votes for passage, and said he would also try to make it to the Senate floor in a bid to block passage by speaking extensively and preventing action on the bill.

“I will do a formal filibuster. Whether or not that means I can go to the floor, some of that depends on what happens because you’re not always allowed,” Paul said.

Paul previously stood for a nearly 13-hour filibuster to call attention to the U.S.’s drone strike policies.

He wouldn’t say if he would launch a similar effort with the Patriot Act.

“Well, nobody can predict how long you can talk, but I plan on doing everything humanly possible to try to stop the Patriot Act,” he said.

Paul also lamented the limited access of lawmakers who aren’t on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which he said makes it more difficult to make the pro-privacy case and downplay national security concerns raised by most members of the Senate intelligence committee.

“The people on our side who believe in the Constitution, Bill of Rights and privacy, we have a more difficult time though because they don’t give us the intelligence information,” he said. “I get to see very little…so you’re only getting one side. We don’t get a two-sided evaluation of any of this.”

READ: Court ruling on NSA spying splits 2016 field

Paul did point to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who stands on equal footing with Paul when it comes to curtailing the NSA’s broad surveillance powers.

The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee also supports reforms, endorsing the USA Freedom Act in the House.

Opponents of reform point to national security concerns, though reviews of the program have found no instances in which the NSA’s dragnet surveillance prevented a terrorist attack.

Paul said those who call the NSA program a great tool against terrorism are simply “wrong.”

“What Madison said about government, what Madison said about laws, is that if government were comprised of angels, we wouldn’t have to worry about giving them power,” Paul said. “Government will never be comprised of angels and that’s why whether there’s been an abuse or not, I worry about restraining power and making them.”