Ron Paul, Surveillance, & the GOP

David Weigel has a good piece in the Washington Independent today on Ron Paul ‘s rising influence in Washington. The articles mentions that Ron Paul has been bringing in some folks to have lunch and discuss ideas with some of his Republican colleagues. The article includes a quote from me: “There’s a growing recognition that the GOP is intellectually bankrupt and morally bankrupt…. I hope the battle of ideas is changing.”

When I was the guest at a luncheon discussion in Paul’s office last Thursday, I spoke primarily about torture and warrantless wiretapping. Apropos the Jane Harman controversy, I asked the members of Congress: “How many of you are confident that your phone calls are NOT being wiretapped?”

I mentioned a comment by congressional leader Hale Boggs in 1971 on the effect of congressional “fear” of the FBI – how the FBI’s boundless surveillance undermined congressional oversight of the FBI in the 1960s and early 1970s. I asked whether the same thing could be happening now regarding congressional oversight of the various law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The luncheon was off-the-record, so, unfortunately, I cannot disclose the responses to my questions. (Disclosing one’s own comments or questions is not a breach of confidentiality).