The National Security Agency’s surveillance program has gotten potential 2016 presidential candidates trading barbs. During yesterday’s “Ask the Governor” radio show, Governor Chris Christie made some derisive remarks on Sen. Rand Paul’s position concerning the NSA’s data collection program.
“Toughen up”, Christie said, noting that Sen. Paul had become overly sensitive in respect to the candidates’ disagreements over the importance of the Patriot Act as well as the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records.
Senator Paul has long opposed the legislation allowing that NSA surveillance programs collect the phone records of millions of Americans. He and Utah Sen. Mike Lee have often entered fierce debates with Gov. Christie, one of the presidential contenders who fully support the Patriot Act and its enactment.
Parts of the Patriot Act are about to expire at the end of May, although Christie has fought continuously in favor of the legislation. The governor accused Sen. Paul of not being able to cope with disagreements, pointing out that he may have wound up in “the wrong race”. People will be disagreeing with each other all the time,” he added.
Christie’s nigh-condescending comments came as a response to Sen. Lee’s remarks during a CNN interview last Friday. Lee hinted that the Governor should have been “ashamed of himself” for supporting legislation which allows Americans to choose between two evils.
Sen. Lee pointed out that politicians should be capable of carefully expressing their views. Christie had given Americans two choices: either living without the privacy protections that the 4th Amendment guarantees or death.
Claiming that one “can’t enjoy our civil liberties if you’re in a coffin,” as Gov. Christie noted during a Hudson Town Hall meeting cannot be considered careful word choice, Lee noted.
But the disagreement has deeper roots, as Christie openly criticized Sen. Paul for having defended Edward Snowden. According to the Governor, both Rand Paul and Mike Lee chose to side with a criminal hiding under Vladimir Putin’s wing while lecturing Americans about authoritarian governments and the evil they represent.
Other statements made by Gov. Christie pointed out that the Senate was at fault for leaning on “misguided ideologues” and not extending the act.
Governor Christie is still expected to announce his candidacy for the 2016 elections.
On Sunday, the Senate is expected to return to session and finally reach an agreement to renew the NSA’s surveillance program.
Image Source: New Jersey News
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