“Who exactly can or will stop them?”
Rand Paul has called for the creation of a bipartisan committee to “watch the watchers” by investigating and reforming sweeping domestic surveillance operations. “I’m announcing today that when I return to Washington,” said Paul, “I will push for a select committee styled after the Church Committee that investigated the abuses of power of the intelligence community in the 70s.”
The Church Committee, named after chairing senator Frank Church, was formed as a response to the abuses of the Watergate era. It discovered that intelligence agencies had, among other things, been conducting a widespread campaign of domestic surveillance, opening and separately photographing hundreds of thousands of pieces of mail.
Paul said the committee “should be bipartisan. It should be independent, and wide reaching. It should have full power to investigate and reform those who spy on us in the name of protecting us.”
Paul said that NSA surveillance was becoming evocative of “dystopian nightmares.”
“If the CIA is spying on Congress, who exactly can or will stop them?” Paul asked. “I look into the eyes of senators and I think I see real fear. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but I think I perceive fear of an intelligence community drunk with power, unrepentant, and uninclined to relinquish power.”