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DES MOINES, Iowa — Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., thinks the government might be listening to Americans’ phone conversations and reading private emails — including his.
The presidential candidate shared his thoughts on government surveillance in an interview with Yahoo News’ Chief White House Correspondent Olivier Knox on Thursday. Their conversation took place onstage at Yahoo’s Digital Democracy conference on technology and politics at Drake University.
Paul argued that people have no reason to believe the government isn’t monitoring their private communications because Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “lied” to Congress about surveillance.
“There is a huge trust gap. The head of our intelligence — the intelligence director James Clapper — came to the Senate, and when he was asked, “Are you collecting all of Americans’ phone records?,” he said no. He lied to us,” Paul said, adding, “That’s perjury. You can actually go to jail for what he did. He should have at the very least been fired, and he’s still in that position.”
In his March 2013 testimony before Congress, Clapper incorrectly said the government doesn’t collect any type of data on millions of Americans. A few months later, former government contractor Edward Snowden leaked files that revealed that the National Security Agency had a bulk data collection program.
Paul went on to suggest that he personally doesn’t “trust” that the government isn’t monitoring him. However, he did not say he has any evidence they are.
“So, do I lack some trust when they tell me they’re not reading my phone conversations — or listening to my phone conversations or reading my email?” Paul asked. “Do I lack trust from the same people who told me they weren’t collecting any of my information at all? There’s a huge trust gap.”