Rand Paul requests info on whether Obama surveilled him

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BY JOE UCHILL

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says he has asked the intelligence community and White House for any evidence that he was surveilled by former President Barack Obama.

“I have formally requested from the WH and the Intel Committees info on whether I was surveilled by Obama admin and or the Intel community!” Paul tweeted Friday.

The tweet appears to build off of President Trump’s claim, presented without evidence, that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower during last year’s presidential race.

FBI Director James Comey has flatly denied any direct surveillance of the Trump campaign.

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Paul tweeted about his request for information in the context of both Trump’s allegations of deliberate surveillance and a recent NSA report stating that the NSA abided by nearly 2,000 requests to unmask names in 2016.The NSA report does not, however, state that the NSA was unmasking names with the hope they would turn out to be specific people.

“Did the Obama admin go after presidential candidates, members of Congress, journalists, clergy, lawyers, fed judges? Did the Obama admin use warrantless ‘wiretapping’ on other candidates besides @realDonaldTrump?” Paul wrote in his previous two tweets, both linking to a piece from the news organization Circa requesting documents about unmasked intercepts.
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Paul has argued that incidental collection of Trump associates’ calls with foreign citizens who were themselves under surveillance is “a big deal.”

Paul and many civil libertarians argue that, since foreign surveillance requires no warrant, Americans caught up in that surveillance are being observed without a warrant.

Foreign, warrantless surveillance is authorized under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which comes up for renewal later this year. Comey has described Section 702 as the “crown jewels” of FBI surveillance tools.

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