Senators Paul, Wyden, And Cruz Join Forces To Block NSA Bulk Data Collection

Sen. Rand Paul spoke for nearly 10 and a half hours yesterday protesting the Patriot Act, which is soon to expire and is up for renewal. His attempted filibuster began at 1:18 PM and ended at 11:49 PM, though it wasn't quite as long as a 13-hour speech he gave two years ago on the topic of drones and to delay voting on the nomination of John O. Brennan as the Director of the CIA.

This time around, the presidential candidate spoke out against the bulk collection of phone records that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been allowed to do as part of the Patriot Act. The apparent strategy is to prevent Congress from passing legislation to either continue or reform parts of the Patriot Act before congress goes on a 10-day recess on Friday. Should that happen, key provisions will expire and the NSA will no longer be allowed to continue collecting phone records on a mass scale.

Paul Rand
Image Source: Flickr (Gage Skidmore)

"There comes a time in the history of nations when fear and complacency allow power to accumulate and liberty and privacy to suffer," Paul said. "That time is now, and I will not let the Patriot Act, the most unpatriotic of acts, go unchallenged."

Other legislators joined Paul in his effort, including Democrat Ron Wyden and Republican Ted Cruz, the latter of which also plans to run for President.

"I thank the senator from Kentucky," Cruz said as Paul wrapped up his filibuster. "I would note he and I agree on a great many issues, although we don't agree entirely on this issue, but I want to take the opportunity to thank the senator from Kentucky for his passionate defense of liberty. His is a voice that this body needs to listen to."

In a 338-to-88 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives a week ago approved the USA Freedom Act, a bill that would effectively end the NSA's ability to collect phone records on a mass scale. It has yet to be voted on in the Senate.