Former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul appeared on CNN tonight to tell Piers Morgan why he objects to the NSA surveillance program. Morgan directly asked Paul if he would have actually ended surveillance programs if he were president. Paul said he would still want intelligence gathering, but it would be done in a more transparent way, maintaining that the current surveillance program are unquestionably unconstitutional. He directly told NSA defenders that they are simply “justifying dictatorship.”
Paul dismissed the use of a FISA court as a significant enough of a check on the executive branch. He said this program is undeniably “destroying the Constitution,”, and posed a question to anyone who defends the widespread surveillance.
“What should the penalty be for the people who destroy the Constitution? They’re always worrying about how they’re going to destroy the American citizens who tell the truth, to let us know what’s going on, but we ask the question: what is the penalty for people who deliberately destroy the Constitution and rationalize and say, ‘Oh, we have to do it for security.’ Well, frankly, you end up losing–you lose your security and you lose your freedoms too.”
He told NSA defenders that the nation is on a “very dangerous course,” and when they try to say there’s nothing wrong with such massive intelligence gathering, “you’re justifying dictatorship!”