Washington (CNN)Sen. Rand Paul is standing by his opposition to the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone data, saying his position is "about protecting us against systemic bias."
Rand Paul: 'Snowden and Clapper should be in the same cell'
"It's not about the President. It's not about members of my party. It's about the law," the Kentucky Republican said Tuesday night.
His comments came during a brief speech at the Strand Book Store in New York City, where Paul was signing copies of his newly released third book, "Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America."
He touted his work with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon to block legislation last week extending the NSA's authority, bucking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and President Barack Obama in doing so.
Paul pointed to a long list of historical blunders -- including the United States' internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's monitoring of civil rights leaders and its tracking of Vietnam War protestors as examples.
The Constitution binds the power of the government, Paul said, "because power tends to corrupt."
"The debate over whether a law is constitutional, the debate over whether a warrant is valid, should be happening in the open," he said.
Paul also offered a comment on Edward Snowden, whose leaks of classified information exposed the breadth of NSA monitoring activities, linking him with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
"Snowden and Clapper should be in the same cell, talking about liberty and security," he said.
Wyden's wife, Nancy Bass Wyden, owns the book store where Paul spoke Wednesday night.