Rand Paul Will Continue His NSA Lawsuit, Even Though Obama Just Undercut It

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 26 2014 5:59 PM

Rand Paul Will Continue His NSA Lawsuit, Even Though Obama Just Undercut It

If Berkeley is for him, who can be against him?

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

My latest piece covers a day on the Hill when the defenders of the NSA (the House intel committee, basically) offered civil libertarians a deal—like the administration, they were ready to end the government's bulk data collection program. The civil libertarians, led by Sens. Rand Paul, Ron Wyden, and Mark Udall, took the deal, gathering in a power circle and declaring victory.

Except for Paul. Sort of. Paul had made international news by launching a civil suit against the Obama administration, on behalf of anyone whose metadata was collected. He insisted that there remained a Fourth Amendment problem and that the Supreme Court would have to be the final arbiter. This afternoon, he and FreedomWorks (who joined him in the suit) announced their next steps.

While the White House has indicated that new legislation is needed to end mass data collection, a court settlement would put an immediate halt to this illegal and unconstitutional activity. Lead Counsel Ken Cuccinelli sent a letter today to the Department of Justice outlining the terms of a settlement which would accomplish exactly what the White House has called for in the press.

What're the terms of the settlement? Neither Paul nor FreedomWorks said, in their identical statements, and follow-up questions were not answered. Suffice to say that the media-driving lawsuit is not over just because the administration is abandoning the policy that sparked it.

UPDATE: And the settlement language is here:

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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