Rand Paul filibusters the Patriot Act: “The most unpatriotic of acts”

After promising to filibuster, Sen. Rand Paul stood up on the senate floor Wednesday afternoon to oppose warrantless mass surveillance carried out by the National Security Agency under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act.

-0In the same style of his 2013 NSA filibuster over the appointment of CIA Director John Brennan, Paul kicked off a speak-till-he-can-no-longer-speak speech against mass surveillance by the federal government.

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

This filibuster comes right before the Congress must either pass some form of reauthorization for certain provisions of the Patriot Act, otherwise the congressional authority for these actions will expire. Full Story

UPDATE: He Did Not Sit For 10 Hours!

WASHINGTON (AP) — The fate of the government’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records is unclear following an FBI warning, House-Senate disagreements and more than 10 hours of criticisms by a GOP presidential candidate.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the most libertarian-leaning of the major Republican presidential contenders, dominated the Senate floor from 1:18 to 11:49 p.m. Wednesday to decry the National Security Agency’s mass collection of phone data without warrants. In doing so, he highlighted deep divisions within Congress — and among his party’s presidential hopefuls — over the program whose existence was exposed by former contractor Edward Snowden, now living in Russia.

Paul wasn’t coy about the political overtones. His campaign issued a fundraising appeal while he slowly paced and steadily talked in a mostly empty Senate chamber. It also told reporters that several conservative House Republicans were available for interviews after they sat a while in support of Paul in the Senate. Full Story.

Senator Paul held the floor until 1:18, after more than 10 hours.

“My voice is rapidly leaving, my bedtime has long since passed,” the Kentucky Republican said as he wrapped up his speech. “There is a hunger in America for somebody to stand up, for all of us to stand up. … We need to end the bulk collection of records.”

Shortly after Paul’s speech ended, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) moved to adjourn, meaning the Senate won’t be able to take a procedural vote on either a surveillance reform bill or a “clean” extension of the Patriot Act until at least Saturday.

Under Senate rules, if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moves to end debate on either bills Thursday, senators must wait until at least Saturday to take a procedural vote.

Then, if cloture is invoked, the Senate will have up to 30 additional hours of debate, putting a final vote on at least Sunday or Monday. Source.

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