Former President Barack Obama’s administration may have been involved in one of the biggest scandals since Watergate, if recent allegations are true.
The Obama administration has already been accused of illegally revealing and “unmasking” Trump campaign members “collected” incidentally during surveillance of foreigners. At the center of that scandal is Susan Rice, the former national security adviser.
Now another famous political figure is speaking out about the scandal. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has announced that he may have been spied on by Obama’s staff — and he has demanded that President Trump take action.
Paul, who ran against Trump in the Republican presidential primaries, wrote a frank letter to the new president explaining his concerns.
“An anonymous source recently alleged to me that my name, as well as the names of other Members of Congress, were unmasked, queried or both, in intelligence reports of intercepts during the prior administration,” stated the letter, which was obtained by Circa News.
“In light of the revelations that the names of persons associated with the Trump campaign were unmasked, I believe the allegations that myself and other elected members of the legislative branch may have also been unmasked or caught in intelligence gathering warrants investigation,” continued Paul.
He also took to Twitter to ask questions about the scandal.
The senator went on to explain that he believed the allegations had merit, considering the most recent information about the scandal.
Rand Paul has become something of a paragon for the libertarian movement and is a champion of civil liberties and privacy. Those pro-liberty positions are completely at odds with the actions of the Obama administration, if the accusations are true.
It is not uncommon for lawmakers or campaign staff members to interact with foreign contacts, especially in today’s interconnected world. In fact, talking with international figures is often part of a senator’s job description.
The standard practice of intelligence groups is to redact or mask the names of Americans who are incidentally included in a report. Agencies such as the NSA are not permitted to spy directly on U.S. citizens — and are certainly not allowed to actively eavesdrop on members of Congress who are not under official investigation.
In past incidents and the latest Rand Paul case, there is evidence that Obama officials ignored this practice and broke the law. Those officials allegedly went out of their way to reveal the names of Americans within incidental reports, with the motive of derailing their opponents’ political ambitions.
A powerful surveillance apparatus without checks and balances is a dangerous and deeply un-American idea. Rand Paul has been saying this for years, and he may be the perfect man to lead the charge against these abuses.