BERKELEY, Calif. – Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s criticisms of President Obama and other government leaders over recent surveillance disclosures were warmly received on Wednesday at the University of California, Berkeley.
Paul, who is considering a presidential bid and is seen as one of several GOP front-runners ahead of 2016, held forth for 30 minutes on what he perceives to be abuses of government spy programs and a lack of oversight of the National Security Agency.
“I find it ironic that the first African-American president has without compunction allowed this vast exercise of raw power by the NSA,” said Paul, noting that other black heroes such as Martin Luther King Jr. were targets of illegal government spying.
Paul called for the creation of a bipartisan congressional committee to address allegations raised by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California that CIA agents secretly searched Senate computers.
He said he hoped that such a commission would be similar to the Church Committee of the 1970s, referring to the special Senate panel that exposed CIA abuses and pushed through laws limiting the intelligence community’s powers.
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