Ron Paul on the Surveillance Bill

Ron Paul opposes both the Republican and Democratic proposals to renew the telecom surveillance bill. Following is his speech before the US House of Representatives, Friday, March 14, 2008.

I rise in opposition to this latest attempt to undermine our personal liberties and violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. This bill will allow the federal government to engage in the bulk collection of American citizens’ communications. In effect, it means that any American may have his electronic communications monitored without a search warrant.

As such, the bill clearly violates the Fourth Amendment, which states:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The assurances in this bill that Americans will not have their communications monitored without warrant are unconvincing. The bill merely states that the government should do its best to avoid monitoring Americans if possible. We have seen how meaningless such qualified prohibitions have been as we recount the abuses over the past several years.

Just today, we read in the news that the federal government has massively abused its ability to monitor us by improperly targeting Americans through the use of “national security letters.” Apparently some 60 percent of the more than 50,000 national security letters targeted Americans, rather than foreign terrorists, for surveillance.

This is what happens when we begin down the slippery slope of giving up our constitutional rights for the promise of more security. When we come to accept that the government can spy on us without a court order we have come to accept tyranny.

I urge my colleagues to reject this and all legislation that allows Americans to be spied on without a properly issued warrant.

61 thoughts on “Ron Paul on the Surveillance Bill”

    1. This is nothing more than a drive-by insult. To call a man who has stood alone for thirty years speaking truth to power a “wimp” is beyond belief.
      If you disagree with how the campaign was run, fine. Speak your mind. Be specific. I’m sure there are lots of Monday morning quarterbacks who will join you. But don’t call one of the bravest politicians of the last thirty years a “wimp”, because that just makes you look stupid.

      1. It says a lot for the US electoral process and voter mentality in that the system has only been able to elect a handful of people in the last 30 years who are/were willing to speak truth to power. Paul was unwilling to do this during the campaign… He is loyal to a fault to the Republican party and was unwilling to call out Bush, Cheney, Rice and the rest of the liars in the administration. That is my point.

        Read the Werther article about the cuckoo.

      1. Too bad that you haven’t learned the rudiments of the English language. For starters try looking up contractions and the use of the apostrophe.

        Perhaps this is, in part, why we have such a hard time electing good people to government office…

  1. He probably avoided being assassinated. Or maybe he or his family was threatened. We’re dealing with a criminal White House here. They shouldn’t be underestimated. Remember what happened to JFK? You can thank the Bush Crime Family for that one.

    There needs to be a lot more support for Ron Paul to risk his neck.

    1. If he had his druthers he’s already said he would just as soon “not be ” the president” … he just wants the rule of law as set out in the constitution to be restored. Americans are in for some really bad times because they have already accepted tyranny as a way of life. We deserve what we get!

  2. Ron Paul is the most conservative candidate; If he couldn’t win the Republican nomination, he wouldn’t have been able to win the General election. He’ll still be protecting our rights in congress and the Revolution will continue. This is not about electing Ron Paul, it never was, this is about taking back our government and Ron Paul will do his part in the House.

  3. This is the man we need in office; not ANY of the other subverting clowns. We can say whatever we like as to why he’s not going to win but it comes back to every single one of us. It comes back to every single american who’ll find out what Ron Paul means to this country NOW, but is supporting someone else.

    America will get the government it deserves not more, not less. The sorry part of it is that when the vast part of the DUPED american population finds out that they gave their country away, it’ll be too late.

  4. I congratulate Paul on his defense of the Constitution. I urge him once more to defend that constitutional polity in the most effective and direct way by immediately pressing, actively and within Congress, and also publicly, for the impeachment of Richard Cheney, and after him, George Bush.

    1. the time for impeachment has passed … I say it is now time to charge the entire Bush Cabinet with war crimes against America and Iraq and hang the lot em.

      1. While criminals hold the office of President and Vice President it is the Constitutional duty of members of the House to impeach, and that of the Senate to try and remove.

        That Ron Paul, among others, does not seem to grasp this imperative, according to what he himself has said in regard to impeachment in the past, suggests a Constitutionalism that rings hollow at the decisive pass.

        Impeachment is not a criminal proceeding, nor is its penalty.

        Successful impeachment undermines later claims of executive immunity.

        Impeachment and prosecution for specific offenses, with criminal penalties, are not mutually exclusive.

        Indeed a successful impeachment implicitly would tend to support such prosecutions, though not strictly judicially.

        There is also the matter of pensions and the perquisites of retirement which, with impeachment, Congress might also successfully address.

        Finally, the ability of the President to give out pardons is immediately nullified, preventing him from giving immunity to other criminals, as in the cabinet, or bribing them into silence.

        At this point and structurally impeachment is the only Constitutional remedy for present and future criminal acts in office, and its effects would be bracing, and far beyond the scope of individual office-holders.

        One might also ask–who is now opposing impeachment of Bush and Cheney, and why?

  5. This man is right on point. Such a powerful statment “When we come to accept that the government can spy on us without a court order we have come to accept tyranny”. Thank you Ron for being one of the only upright and law abiding congressmen. -Victor

  6. Ron Paul has something for everyone, conservative, moderate or liberal, thus he is able to win any election with his positions, given enough and neutral, non-biased media reporting. He has already achieved success in inspiring many and establishing the most enthusiastic and strong grassroot support, needed for any campaign to win. (McCain does not have this, just like with Bob Dole. The GOP has mostly won with a conservative candidate, that can integrate to the middle, not with a central-leftist candidate. And with 70% plus against the Iraq war, no pro-war candidate has any chance). From what one understand, all is not over regarding success with the nomination:
    http://www.ronpaulchat.net/drpaulwillwin.html

    If Paul does not get the nomination, the GOP will loose the election (over the pro-war stance mainly) and then he should be in a strong position to steer the GOP towards the right direction. In 2000 the GOP was effectively the anti-war party, against the Kosovo war of Clinton, and can switch soon again, after the Bush stranglehold has been broken.

    1. The GOP “effectively the anti-war party” in Clinton’s illegal war against Yugoslavia?

      Surely you josh, my good fellow.

      In fact, that war and Waco seemed to be the only things the mainstream Republicans liked about Clinton.

      Ron Paul and some of the more traditional conservatives were the exceptions not the rule.

      1. I recall that McCain’s criticism of Clinton’s war against Serbia was that the bombing campaign was too wimpy. McCain wanted to see the civilian infrastructure massively bombed to teach the Serbs the lesson that the Empire must not be resisted. He also wanted to introduce ground troops which would have triggered a guerrilla war.

        The GOP’s position in general was to criticize Clinton’s conduct of that war as not being ferocious enough. Just as modern Democrats have never met a tax which is high enough, modern Republicans have never met a war which is bloody enough.

  7. Thank God for Ron Paul. He is MY HERO!

    I am still voting for him, btw.

    Imagine what he could do in the White House. Too bad the people of the country suck.

    Big OOH RAH for Ron Paul

  8. Ron Paul has been right from the beginning on the war, the dollar, the trade imbalance, the spying, the Federal Reserve going lickety-split with the money press, the destruction of the Constitution and illegal immigration.

    As he said, the biggest earmark is the war. John McCain should remember that when he’s criticizing earmarks.

  9. Ron Paul can never change the Republican Party nor the “apparatus” that controls it, i.e., the military industrial complex. The RP is much like a sex pervert, it is “in-bed” with its sister, the Democrat Party.

    Jack Dawsey

  10. No one is listening, bot us….The choir…. The promises of the war party imply our profit from their plunder will “trickle down. But the trillions of our money taken at gunpoint by their enforcers the IRS will gain us only debt…. They have spent any gain already, our share is in the coffins & debentures to which our signatures the war party has affixed to these notes.

  11. not true my friend. Most republicans spoke negatively about the intervention in Yugoslavia. Also, you need to watch the senate investigation on Waco. You’ll see dems shilling and fawning over federal agents and how brave and wonderful they are while repubs asked the hard questions and grilled the agencies. It only depends on who’s in power. War with a (d) and war with an (r) is what makes the real difference to the clowns in Washington.

    1. I only recall a few Republican opposing the war in Kosovo.

      A few Republicans did ask hard questions about Waco.

      Yes, the Democrats were shilling and fawning. But when it comes to war, apparently, Theo-Fascist and Neo-Fascists unite.

      1. I think it’s safe to say, given how the Congressional Republicans lined up behind Bush’s adventures, that the opposition to Kosovo/Yugoslavia among the Republicans was mostly a matter of partisan politics, not principle. The only exception, of course, would be Ron Paul and maybe a few others( definitely not Tom DeLay).

        If Bob Dole had been elected president in ’96 and pursued similar interventionist policies, you would not have heard a peep of dissent from Congressional Republicans, except for Ron Paul.

  12. Compared to the spooked bundle of administration sycophants, Ron Paul’s Berry Goldwater-like conservatism is the only voice pushing back the Bush/Cheney paranoia which gives us exaggeration after exaggeration plus institutional anarchy…really sick stuff for which America will pay dearly.

  13. Two great books, written in the seventies, explain how things really work. Walter Karp’s ” Indispensable Enemies,” and “The Politics of War.” Read them. Karp really understood. The republic was lost in the late 19th century, and has never recovered. The reason? The collusion between the two parties, driven by the oligarchy that runs the country.

  14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3MLTvYBQy0&fmt=18
    Take a look at this Ron Paul video; it was DONATED to the campaign. The antiwar movement needs to get this message out, whether or not they support Ron Paul. Email this video to your friends. The antiwar movement is the majority in America, and we DEMAND to be heard. If only 1,000 of us send this to 10 of our friends, and only 2 of our friends do likewise, we can flood the country with the antiwar message.

  15. I dont necessarily agree with their stances on every issue but I would say that Ron Paul is one of the only reps/senators worth a damn in washington. Kucinich is another one. They occupy opposite ends of the spectrum but they share one quality: they tell it like it is. Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader are also members of the elite fraternity that doesn’t mince words or kiss asses.

    I would have voted for paul in a presidential election. Kucinich told his supporters to vote for Obama as a second choice. Obama is the only candidate left who has the potential to change the course our country is on wrt these ludicrous foreign wars for israel. Let’s face it, that is what this is. We are fighting wars for israel, and destroying the dollar in the process. It sounds like something hitler would have said which is sad but it is 100% true!

    I hope to God that somehow we are able to avoid a clinton or mccain presidency.

    1. Obamas wife is a CFR! You guys better wake up to who is running the country for the Federal Reserve owners. Dr. Paul will deal with it!

  16. I hope at least having run the campaign gives him more clout in congress…at least someone in Congress speaks for me.

  17. Unfortunately Ron Paul doesn´t stand a chance, and it’s not his fault. As a foreigner that has seen elections in other countries, the United Sates is prbably among the least democratic. Even Rusia and Pakistan are fairer, even with all the media control and lack of liberties.
    How can you accept delegates to casts votes in your name? (never mind superdelegates) How can that be democratic? And how about the electors in the general election?

    Add to that the infamous voting machines that have proven to be flawed or downiright rigged! and the infinite amount of problems i ballkot counting / processing encountered in virtually every state, but is quieted by the media.

    By the way, did you know that recounts are part of the regular voting process in many places like small countries as Chile? Yeah, you dot have to pay for it yourself in order for it to happen, its part of the system, (despite other flaws in that country)
    Why can´t the USA just change to one person one vote, majority wins? and have primaries in just 1 single day? Never mind the almost impossible obstacles for creating new forces and movements beyond the democratic or republican party.

    Has any politician ever “dared” to challenge this old system?

  18. Privacy and the Constitution are, of course, important concerns. But I’m not sure if I buy the “slippery slope” argument. Ever since John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, people have always said that our Constitutional rights are being eroded. Well, the Constitution is still here, and thank goodness for that. We have to keep in mind that as the Supreme Court has said, “the Constitution is not a suicide pact.” We have Islamic terrorists that are actively engaged in trying to kill as many Americans as they can and are seeking weapons of mass destruction. Isn’t the first obligation of the government to protect its citizens?

    1. The Constitution only exists in name only. As its key provisions have been effectively annulled, it is, as Bush so pithily phrased it, nothing more than a “goddamned piece of paper”.

      We have Islamic terrorists that are actively engaged in trying to kill as many Americans as they can and are seeking weapons of mass destruction. Isn’t the first obligation of the government to protect its citizens?

      No we don’t. We have a very cunning man named Bin Laden who has used the confluence of terrorist and ruling class interests to goad America into literally fighting his wars for him. Name me a single terror plot that has been foiled since 9/11, and I’ll begin to consider your argument.

  19. ” Name me a single terror plot that has been foiled since 9/11, and I’ll begin to consider your argument. ”

    Ok. I will a few, and there are plenty more I can’t even think of at the moment.

    The plot to blow up air liners over the Atlantic; the plot to blow up the Eiffel Tower, the plot to bomb JFK International airport, the “Fort Dix Six” plot. These plots were all post 9/11.

    1. Congratulations; you’ve finally managed to produce an argument of substance. Now, if you could establish that these comprised an existential threat rather than an occasional nuisance of great political utility, you might have a justification for the police state you hope to erect on the putrid rot of the old republic. With depressing predictability, however, you’ve evaded any further discussion of the purview of the Constitution, or important sections of it, in American jurisprudence.

      1. Actually all of these”terrorist”plots that Tim R mentioned were proven exaggerated or outright false, some the results of FBI or British intelligence stings in which the government agent was the agent provacateur.

        But don’t trust me, look up the actual convictions coming out of the cases. Most charges were dismissed, and yet we have to give up such subversive and potentially explosive ;-) items like toothpaste and mascara when we fly, all in preparation for accepting the utterly absurd when martial law is implemented.

        I heard the last journalist to interview Bin Laden before Sept. 11, 2001 talk about the interview on the We the People Radio Network (wtprn.com — check it out — they love Ron Paul). He’s a Pakistani journalist named Abid Ulah Jan, now living in Canada, where he’s received political asylum because he had been imprisoned by Mushareff’s regime.

        Jan said that Bin Laden, whom he interviewed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, about ten days before the 9/11 attacks, was a bit dense, and only really interested in talking about the Koran. He also said that Bin Laden knew something was coming but didn’t know what it was.

        There’s an organization called 9/11 Pilots for Truth composed of former combat pilots many of whom are now commercial pilots, almost all of whom could not be considered “conspiracy theorists.”

        I heard a representative of the organization also on the We the People Radio network — he was a former combat pilot, now a commercial pilot. He poo-pooed the idea that people who could not successfully fly a Cessna could do the intricate maneuvering required to crash planes into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, and laid out the technical reasons.

        This ‘War on Terror” is a war on Islam for Israel and the war profiteers. It helps that pre-dominantly Muslim nations sit on top of a good deal of the world’s oil, or sit on access to it.

        Tim R, before I was forced onto the VIP list (i.e., special screening at airports despite no criminal record) I traveled widely, including in some countries with large Muslim populations.

        I have no idea of your travel history, but this is what I found — far from hating me as an American or a woman who wore shorts or a Catholic — I was welcomed into Muslim homes and treated as an honored guest everywhere from Indonesia to India. I found the most hospitality extended in Muslim homes.

        I did some charity work in India and most of our alms (and doctors and nurses) came from Muslim and Christian communities.

        My point being that the threat of “Islamo-fascism” (the stupidest word ever behind “anti-Semite” – name me one Muslim country with a truly viable military) is the excuse being used to bankrupt our economy, launch endless wars and further implement a police state.

        As patriotic Americans we need to demand a full accounting from Bush / Cheney/ Wolfowitz/ Feith/ Perle/ Wurmser/ Silverstein/ Zakheim (whose company, SPC corp developed the technology to control hijacked planes) / Abrams (how long can this list go…) under an oath punishable by impeachment and/or imprisonment, about what they knew about the attacks of Sept. 11 and when.

        Remember that this crowd was behind the “New Pearl Harbor” that would rally the U.S. public around the neo-conservative agenda, which was eerily predicted almost exactly a year before 9/11/2001 on their website, the “Project for a New American Century.” http://www.newamericancentury.org

        We need to stop listening to the Zionist/ military/industrial complex media.

        We need to demand an end to endless war.

        And, last, but certainly not least, we MUST restore our Bill of Rights.

      2. If Tim believes these plots were real threats he will believe anything. No guns, no bombs, just a few hot heads trying to impress FBI informants and some trying to con supposedly alqaida men to buy them boots. If one wants to give up his freedom for the fear of such idots does he really value his freedom at all?

    2. Tim R.

      Don’t forget the guys convicted for their fantasy paint ball adventure. Or the marginally employed blacks in Miami egged on by an informer to demand combat boots and AK47s in order to attack the Sears Tower in Chicago, but later acquitted by a jury.

      There must be more, but I can’t go on. I just peed in my pants from fear merely writing about these threats to our existence. Please, somebody save us from paint ball, combat boots and smoking gym shoes. Also outlaw those frightening toothpaste and mouthwash bombs! Take away all my rights so that I don’t pee in my pants out of fear again.

  20. Remember Ross Perot.

    Ralph Nader Ron Paul Dennis Kucinich Mike Gravel.

    Cynthia McKinney.

    United by truth elicit fear smear blacklist.
    Wrenches in the gears lives not lived in vain.

    Human League awakened sheep.
    President Carter understands

  21. I was a big time fan of Ron Paul well before he ran for president. I am also a fan of Lew Rockwell and his site. which is where I was introduced to the writtings of Ron Paul. I have been very happy with the campaign. Being a fan from before this even got started I was very surprised at how far it has all gone. I honestly did not think there were enough inteligent people left in the US for the movement to have gotten anywhere. It has far exceeded any of my expectations. His message has gotten out to far more people than I could have thought possible. Unfortunately, most of the US wishes to remain asleep. I think as long as they can drive their SUVs and somehow manage the mortgage on the house they paid to much for they will not be ready for the r3volution.

    At this point I am still supporting Ron Paul but I have shifted my effort to local politics. I am currently working on the campaign for Linda Goldthorpe. She is a Ron Paul Republican running for Michigan District one Representative. She could use your support, if you would like to help, check out her website http://www.lindagoldthorpe.com

    PEOPLE

    -are not a commodity
    -deserve to be heard
    -require freedom
    -do not need a nanny
    -own their labor

    MATTER

    Goldthorpe for U.S. Congress

    1. “I was a big time fan of Ron Paul well before he ran for president”

      I might say the same, without the “well” perhaps, and more along the lines of what Tacitus says about Sulpicius Galba:omnium consensu capax imperii nisi imperasset

      1. In place, there is license to do good, and evil; whereof the latter is a curse: for in evil the best condition is not to will; the second, not to can. But power to do good, is the true and lawful end of aspiring. For good thoughts (though God accept them) yet, towards men, are little better than good dreams, except they be put in act; and that cannot be, without power and place, as the vantage, and commanding ground. Merit and good works, is the end of man’s motion; and conscience of the same is the accomplishment of man’s rest.

        Francis Bacon

        I’m sorry you feel less for Ron Paul now then you did before he ran. I don’t feel that way at all.

        Peace!

  22. I take issue with anyone, who is willing to give up any amount of thier freedom or liberties for false felling of security. I just do not understand the logic of some that use the phrase (we are fighting terrorist over there, so they don’t come over here) or (there hasn’t been another attack on us since 911).
    Lets look at the obvious reasons why they don’t need to come over her. First they have already killed more Americans, and wounded tens of thousands more then they did at the World Trade Center. Second, they can maintain the fight on thier turf and keep the most powerful nation on earth tied up basically on pocket change compared to what were spending. So thier bleeding us dry in a war of attrition. We could flatten all of Manhattan and rebuild it for cheaper then this war is gonna cost when its all said and done. So basically its easier and more cost effective for them. And finally, do you really believe if they wanted to come over here and blow something up we could stop them. We can’t even stop the thoudands of illegal aliens that swarm across our boarder. Please get real. I’d like to add a fote note also. I have a very dear friend(i use the term have even tho he is no longer alive) that was a childhood friend that I grew up with. I visit him whenever I can. He is resting in a national cemetery. He died in Vietnam. There is nothing more sobering then to walk through there and see all the markers(thousands of them) in nice neat rolls. Well manicured grass. Its actually very peacful cosidering the violent circumstances that brought most of them there. So what i’m asking or suggesting is for those of you who are willing to give up a ounce of your liberties so it makes you feel more safe, to visit a national cemetery, and take a walk. Walk down the rolls and look at the names and tell these guys that paid the ultimate price to preserve your rights and liberties, why your so willing to give one ounce of them up. Maybe they will understand. But God knows I never will. We have become a country of whimps whenever the goverment uses the word terrorist. You run and hide and give up whatever they want as long as you think it will make you safe.

  23. Ron Paul philosophy is still alive and well. And to the idiot that thought that Ron wimped out and didn’t take on the Bush administration, you have not been out to see the numerous videotaped speeches Ron Paul did in Congress that did indeed take them on? He is no wimp.

    1. Yes, Karen and all, in the halls of Congress, he does take on the Bush Administration, immensely better than do any of the others.

  24. LOL! (Ron Paul Philosophy). He believes in following the Constitution. If you want to call that his philosophy, then what your saying is, we don’t need the Constitution, with all our rights it protects. We just need to be antiwar. Our liberties and rights we can do without. Is that what your saying?

  25. I’m not an American, so as far as I’m concerned you can have whatever Constitution and liberties you choose. But I’ll take issue with your military galavanting around the globe, no question.

    Which is beside the point. My point is that is that a philosophy based on the politics of one man (even so principled a man as Dr. Paul) is a distraction from the real issues. Peace (and liberty, non-interventionism, you name it) are values that transcend your parochial devotion to one Republican politician and his prescriptions.

    One of the strengths of Antiwar.com is its consistent, bipartisan focus on opposition to war. The weakness of the antiwar movement is that it is divided along theoretical lines. Some will say that capitalism is the cause of war, others will blame the welfare state. So long as the movement is confined to swallowing either of these philoophies wholesale, it will remain divided and distracted by tangents.

    Personally, I think it is a lethal cocktail of big business and big government which perpetuates the War State as we currently know it. But so long as your country (and mine) are killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m not going to wait around for you to agree with this. But, if you are antiwar, and favour an immediate withdrawal of our troops, then I will ask you to “honk” your horns in support.

    It’s pretty simple, really.

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