Privacy | 2016 Republican Presidential Candidates

What do the Republican Candidates Believe About Warrantless Domestic Surveillance / Privacy?

Y= Supports DSWW   N=does not support DSWW   R=reduce


Ben Carson: N

Carson on Wednesday also weighed in on the debate in Congress over whether to reauthorize the Patriot Act, calling the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection of metadata with U.S. phone calls a violation of the Fourth Amendment.


“Yes,” retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson emailed through a spokeswoman, he agrees with the ruling. “The court’s decision confirms the mass collection of data is an intrusion of the Fourth Amendment rights of all Americans. There is no reason to monitor the activities of everyday Americans.”


On what to do next, Carson said:


There are currently ways for our government to monitor the activities of suspicious individuals. You can get a court order very quickly when necessary. The security and privacy of our citizenry is paramount—one of the central [tenets] of our Constitution. But we can protect our national security without invading the rights of law-abiding citizens.


Click on image to enlarge.


Ted Cruz: R

Ted Cruz (R) The Texas senator has taken a moderate position on these issues—he’d like some reforms, specifically the USA Freedom Act (which I explained here), but he doesn’t want the Patriot Act to go away. Cruz is more outspoken against the NSA, even saying whistleblower Edward Snowden did a “public service” by sharing what he knew.


Republicans and the Patriot Act

..However, the House is taking a very different approach. Last week, the Judiciary Committee voted 25 to 2 in favor of a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the Patriot Act for five years, while imposing greater privacy protections such as reining in the National Security Agency’s bulk-collection and metadata programs. Speaker John Boehner is backing this version of the reauthorization, which is expected to pass the full House within the next couple of weeks. The upcoming vote in Congress on reauthorizing the Patriot Act could open the first real fissures in the GOP field. The split is forcing Republican presidential candidates to take sides. Among the most prominent backers of the House approach is Senator Ted Cruz. Reauthorizing the law without changes “is not acceptable,” Cruz said in a statement. “It is absolutely critical for Congress to balance the privacy interests of law-abiding citizens against the public’s interest in national security.” But neither the current House reauthorization bill nor the USA Freedom Act, introduced in 2013 but never passed during the 113th Congress, goes far enough for Senator Rand Paul, who will oppose reauthorization all together. Paul says that “Our founding fathers would be mortified” by the government’s spying on U.S. citizens without a warrant


Where Do the Presidential Wannabes Stand on the Patriot Act?

“This issue will be decided before the next election,” homeland security consultant Paul Rosenzweig told The Daily Signal. “For those who are in the Senate, they need to decide what—if anything—they will do to save some portion of the 215 program [in the Patriot Act]. For those outside, the decision by the court actually helps since it takes a contentious issue off the table for debate.”


On the left is Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, a presidential candidate who caucuses with Democrats and is a vocal opponent of the government’s bulk collection of phone or other personal records.


On the right are four Republican senators, who disagree on reauthorizing the National Security Agency’s metadata collection program: Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky oppose it, while Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida support it. Graham continues to mull a race for the White House; the others are declared candidates.


Ted Cruz – who voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act – jabs Rand Paul over the NSA



While speaking in Iowa in an attempt to appeal to conservative Republicans in the caucus state, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) slid a light jab in the direction of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) over the NSA’s controversial metadata collection program.


The New York Times reports that although Cruz has announced previously that he would not engage in mudslinging and personal attacks on fellow candidates, he proceeded to make clear his disappointment in Paul’s vote against the USA Freedom Act.


“At first, he stated that “Rand Paul is a good friend of mine, he and I have fought side by side many times,” but then Mr. Cruz recalled an attempt in the Senate to overhaul the once-secret National Security Agency program that collects records of Americans’ phone calls in bulk. When the vote came up in November, he said, “Unfortunately Rand voted no.”


At the time, Mr. Paul said the bill did not go far enough in curbing the N.S.A., while Mr. Cruz said it was imperative to protect the Bill of Rights.”


Sen. Paul has made clear of his reasons for voting against the USA Freedom Act, which pertained to a provision, which would have reauthorized the Patriot Act through 2017, which Sen. Ted Cruz voted for.


“I’m against that,” Paul says. “There is a right to privacy and the government needs to stay out. If they want to look at your information, if they want to collect any of your data, they should do it with a judge’s warrant with probable cause if they think you have committed a crime.”


“I will vote for the Freedom Act as long as it doesn’t include reauthorization of the Patriot Act,” he says.


However, Ted Cruz’s comments have not gone unnoticed by those who know better regarding Sen. Paul’s stance on the NSA and metadata collection.



Senate Renews Patriot Act and Rejects Bill That Would’ve Ended NSA’s Domestic Spying Program

The U.S. Senate filibustered a bill that would have the ended the NSA’s metadata program and renewed some portions of the Patriot Act that gave the program legal authority. Those provisions are set to expire in June.


The New York Times reports that Senate Republicans voted to filibuster it, because they saw the bill as diminishing America’s ability to fight terrorism.


Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, worked hard to defeat the bill, which had the support of the Obama administration and a coalition of technology companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo…


Here’s the roll call, vote by vote position. Notice the four Republican Senators who voted for it: Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Dean Heller, and Lisa Murkowski…



John Kasich: R

HH: Now I started the program talking to Mitch McConnell, and it was not the world’s greatest week for the Congress of the United States. We went dark on the Patriot Act. We had a 36 hour gap until the USA Freedom Act went up, and I did not think the USA Freedom Act went far enough. What did you make of the gamesmanship over national security this week?


JK: Well, I don’t know what you mean about this Freedom Act. Look, Hugh, you know, conservatives are in general very distrustful for government, as they should be. Well, all of government has to have a level of distrust. Now you know, I served on the Armed Services Committee for 18 years. As governor of Ohio from time to time, I get briefings about things, and we need to make sure we have good intelligence. I But I think there’s a balance between good intelligence and the need to protect Americans from what can become an aggressive government somewhere down the road. And I like the idea, I’m not thrilled with the idea of the phone companies holding onto this. It could have been somebody else. But I also like, I do like the idea that you just can’t go willy-nilly listening in to people, and you’ve got to get to a court. I think that’s the appropriate way to do it. So I’m not sure which part of that you didn’t like, but I’m not giving carte blanche to anybody in the federal government. There has to be rules, restrictions and regulations that restrain them.


HH: I don’t like the phone companies holding it without a time certain, and requiring a warrant for each one.


JK: Yeah, I mean…


HH: A third party holder requiring…


JK: If I were there in Washington, maybe I would have asserted myself to make some, but I’m just saying to you generally, the idea that the government is not holding this thing, that they have to go to a court, I think is a step forward. I mean, would I have written it that way? I don’t know. I’m not there. But I can tell you my general philosophy and thrust of what I think about it.

“I absolutely share some concern with Rand Paul,” Kasich said, applying his Goldilocks approach to porridge and Patriot Act. “If we don’t trust the government to do a bunch of things, then why when it comes to government would we trust them 100 percent… On the other hand, as a governor I get briefings from time to time about the threats, we get threats in Ohio, so it’s a balance, civil liberties, protection.”

Marco Rubio: Y

Marco Rubio Wants to Permanently Extend NSA Mass Surveillance

The Florida Republican and likely White House contender is further separating himself from other 2016 hopefuls in the Senate.


Sen. Marco Rubio wants Congress to permanently extend the authorities governing several of the National Security Agency’s controversial spying programs, including its mass surveillance of domestic phone records.


The Florida Republican and likely 2016 presidential hopeful penned an op-ed on Tuesday condemning President Obama’s counterterrorism policies and warning that the U.S. has not learned the “fundamental lessons of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”


Rubio called on Congress to permanently reauthorize core provisions of the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act, which are due to sunset on June 1 of this year and provide the intelligence community with much of its surveillance power…


“This year, a new Re­pub­lic­an ma­jor­ity in both houses of Con­gress will have to ex­tend cur­rent au­thor­it­ies un­der the For­eign In­tel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Act, and I urge my col­leagues to con­sider a per­man­ent ex­ten­sion of the coun­terter­ror­ism tools our in­tel­li­gence com­munity re­lies on to keep the Amer­ic­an people safe,” Ru­bio wrote in a Fox News op-ed.


Ru­bio for years has po­si­tioned him­self as a vo­cal de­fense hawk in Con­gress, and he has re­peatedly de­fen­ded the NSA’s spy pro­grams re­vealed to the pub­lic by former agency con­tract­or Ed­ward Snowden.


Hawk Rubio shows claws on NSA

Marco Rubio is eagerly taking on the mantle of the top hawk in the Republican Party’s growing ranks of White House contenders.


A congressional fight over the Patriot Act, surveillance and the National Security Agency has split Republican presidential hopefuls and is giving the Florida senator his best opportunity yet to carve out a distinct identity.


Specifically, Rubio has leapt to the forefront of a small yet powerful group of Republican hawks dead set on keeping the Patriot Act intact.


“One day — I hope that I am wrong — there will be an attack that is successful,” he said on the Senate floor last week.


“The first question out of everyone’s mouth will be: Why didn’t we know about it? And the answer better not be, ‘Because this Congress failed to authorize a program that might have helped us know about it,’ ” he added.


“This is a serious threat, and I hope we reauthorize this bill.”

Donald Trump: Y

Donald Trump: The real estate magnate, who says he is seriously mulling the race, told The Daily Signal that he supports the court ruling. With an eye for “proper oversight,” Trump said, Obama and top congressional Republicans “should work together to make a program which the public can support.” Trump added:


“ I support legislation which allows the NSA to hold the bulk metadata. For oversight, I propose that a court, which is available any time on any day, is created to issue individual rulings on when this metadata can be accessed.”


US presidential race issues: Privacy

Donald Trump says the United States needs the phone collection program and stated he would “execute” Edward Snowden for leaking the confidential documents that opened up the debate.