Sen. Rand Paul said that the recent exposure of government surveillance programs shows the need for stricter congressional oversight of the nation’s intelligence agencies.
“If you only allow the people who are the spies to make the rules, they will always believe more spying is better,” he said in an interview with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos.
Paul also made his sarcasm clear when Ramos observed that CIA director John Brennan and others at the agency, “have a completely different perspective than you have on national security.”
“Surprise, surprise,” the senator responded.
During the interview, which airs Tuesday, the Kentucky Republican also revealed he has ambivalent feelings about former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed many of the agency’s spying programs last year.
Paul is considering a run for president in 2016, and his stance on Snowden and surveillance programs differs from other possible presidential contenders who believe the NSA whistleblower is a “traitor.” By contrast, Paul filed a lawsuit against the NSA in February for its bulk data collection program.
“If the information that [Snowden] put forward would not have come forward, do you think we would have any of the reforms down?” Paul said. “They would still continue to lie to us. The only reason we’re having this discussion at all is because Edward Snowden revealed the truth.”
Paul said that Snowden did break the law, and that the government needs to have the ability to keep its secrets. On the whole, however, he believes the disclosures helped spark an important debate about the limits of surveillance.
“We cannot allow people who believe no rules should be placed on this to go unchecked,” he said.
Watch the full interview below: