Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor this week to protest against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, which he claims gives the National Security Agency too much access to Americans' phone data.
The Republican presidential candidate kept talking for almost 10 hours after interrupting a vote on an unrelated trade bill.
While he left 12 minutes before meeting the technical definition of filibuster, it’s still being called one by Paul’s office because “lawmakers weren't able to take action on reauthorizing the Patriot Act while he held the floor,” according to CNN.
And while it’s unclear Paul’s talk-a-thon will succeed in blocking the Patriot Act, he has managed to impress with his (lengthy) defense of the Fourth Amendment.
I'm a Democrat but I #StandWithRand. The NSA needs to stop spying on Americans.— Ryan McKee (@ryakee) May 21, 2015
I am so jazzed by the Democrats brave enough to #StandWithRand on this vital issue. A big "Thank you!" from this libertarian. There is hope!— Justin Raimondo (@JustinRaimondo) May 21, 2015
Read More: 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Rand Paul
Here are five most important statements from Paul’s 10-hour talkfest:
“We should be in open rebellion saying enough is enough. We're not going to take it anymore.”
Paul called on Americans to fight for their right to privacy after saying people should be alarmed at how the government is “connecting metadata to other metadata to create social networks of who you are.”
“There is a general veil of suspicion that is placed on every American now. Every American is somehow said to be under suspicion because we are collecting the records of every American.”
After explaining how the Bill of Rights isn’t meant for one individual but for everyone, Paul explained how the surveillance programs are not just targeting terror suspects but are also putting all other citizens into that category of suspicion.
“I don’t want to spend a penny on collecting all the information from all of the innocent Americans and giving up who we are in the process.”
The Republican senator said while it is indeed important to defend the country against terrorists, if it comes at a cost of forgetting what it means to be an American, it’s not worth it.
“You should never be convicted, you should never be punished without there first being a trial, without there first being evidence, without there first being a trial with a lawyer, with a verdict.”
He said there should be at least some evidence, something that “points towards them being suspicious” before targeting people for surveillance. Fundamental rights of all American citizens ought to be respected.
"At the very least we should debate, we should debate whether or not we are going to relinquish our rights or whether or not we are going to have a full and able debate over whether or not we can live within the constitution or whether or not we have to go around the constitution."
Paul pointed out how there should be discussion – if not immediate action – to protect the rights of American people. The fact that the “collection of records that is going on is beyond imagination” is something that should be a public debate.
This is not the first time Rand Paul has made headlines with his marathon speech. In March 2013, Paul spoke for almost 13 hours against the lack of transparency in the U.S. drone program in a bid to derail Senate confirmation of John Brennan as CIA director.