Rand Paul announced on Monday that he'd be launching a civil suit against the NSA. What did that mean? We get the answer today: An online form that adds your name to Paul's list, and a suggestion that you chip in to publicize it.
"With your support, I'll immediately begin mobilizing Americans from all over the country to this fight," writes Paul in a fundraising email (which I got syndicated by a conservative news site). "But to do that, I'll have to pull out all the stops—and not just with email, Internet ads and social networking. I'll have to use mail, phones and perhaps even radio and TV to get my message out, as well."
Can it be that simple? No, it can't. As Alex Seitz-Wald wrote this week, the burden for anyone trying to sue the government over spying—legal spying, remember—is staggering. To win, people need to prove their communications were intercepted and this caused them harm. But the government has classified the key information about what's being intercepted. Paul's had some success shaming the administration into providing more statements about what it's up to, but not into declassifying more facts.
The email is below.
I'm looking for ten million Americans to stand with me and sue the federal government and TAKE BACK our rights.
Can I count on your help?
Without it, I truly fear where our fragile Republic could be headed . . .
Recent news reports revealed that Barack Obama's NSA is looking through billions of our emails and phone records every day.
So yesterday morning, in an interview on Fox News, I announced I would be asking Internet providers and phone companies to join me in a class-action lawsuit to STOP this madness.
But my friend, today I'm counting on your support, as well.
As you'll see, I've made up a Joining Statement for you to join my class-action lawsuit, and I'm counting on you to sign it IMMEDIATELY.
You see, I believe this is an absolutely critical and defining moment . . .
My hope is, it will be remembered for decades as the moment the American people stood up to their government and demanded our liberties be respected.
But I fear, without your help, it could be the moment the American people quietly shrank from a fight and gave their last bit of approval over for government-run lives.
I know there are those who argue Americans must give up every last one of their liberties to win our country's ongoing fight against terrorism.
"Trust us," they say.
I also know their promises of safety can be tantalizing.
But today we know President Obama's IRS routinely targeted his political opponents and grassroots conservatives.
The Justice Department targeted reporters and their families for wiretapping and harassment for daring to criticize the administration.
We see the Obama administration covering up Benghazi then tapping Susan Rice -- who helped mislead the American people in the wake of that outrage -- for a promotion.
"Trust us" is out the window.
And even if our rulers were angels -- and you and I had nothing to fear from an overbearing and intrusive government -- it doesn't even work.
One of my colleagues, defending this massive program, stated the recent Boston bombing proved why we need programs like this.
Actually, it proves quite the opposite.
Instead of acting on real intelligence warnings from at least one other nation about the dangers the Tsarnaev's posed, they were too busy secretly sifting through the phone and email records of hundreds of millions of Americans.
Instead of unreasonably targeting every American into a target for spying, they should be focusing on only the truly dangerous.
What's truly dangerous is if you and I allow this to go on.
How long until these spying capabilities suffer some "mission creep" and they start using the GPS feature in your phone to track whether or not you go to gun shows?
What if you go to the "wrong" church? Or read emails from or attend the rallies of the "wrong" candidate.
What if you go to McDonalds a little "too much?"
How long until Big Brother tries to "fix" you?
That's why your action today is so critical.
As I mentioned, I've made up a Joining Statement so you can join the lawsuit, and I'm counting on you to sign it IMMEDIATELY.
If you can, I hope you'll forward it to as many friends and family members as you can.
Go ahead and forward it to the uncle or cousin you always get in arguments with at Thanksgiving, as well.
This isn't a partisan issue. It's an American one.
And if you and I care at all about the future of our Republic, we need as many folks to stand up and fight back as possible.
I believe each new name joining in this lawsuit increases the likelihood of ultimate victory.
By joining my class-action lawsuit, you can help stop the government's outrageous spying program on the American people.
I'm asking phone companies and Internet service providers to enlist their customers, as well.
I believe we can win this. As I mentioned yesterday, I'm prepared to take this all the way to the Supreme Court.
If we can get tens of millions of Americans behind this effort, I believe we can win.
But I can't do that without your help.
So please sign your Joining Statement to join my lawsuit IMMEDIATELY.
And if you can, please agree to your most generous contribution of $500, $250, $100, $50 or $35 TODAY.
If that's too much, please chip in at least $10 or $20.
Every dollar counts.
With your support, I'll immediately begin mobilizing Americans from all over the country to this fight.
But to do that, I'll have to pull out all the stops -- and not just with email, Internet ads and social networking.
I'll have to use mail, phones and perhaps even radio and TV to get my message out, as well.
This kind of program won't be cheap.
But it's critical. It's an absolutely critical one for the survival of our Republic.
So please sign your Joining Statement and agree to your most generous contribution of $250, $100, $50, $35 -- or even $10 or $20 -- IMMEDIATELY.
Thanks so much for your support.