Republican Senator Rand Paul walked into enemy territory Wednesday night – the often-dubbed ‘People’s Republic’ of Berkeley, California – and castigated America’s spying apparatus before an unlikely constituency of well-wishers: college students from one of the most liberal universities in the U.S.
About 400 crowded into a UC Berkeley auditorium to hear the Kentucky civil libertarian rail against a National Security Agency that shows ‘sheer arrogance,’ and whose leaders are ‘only sorry they got caught’ when leaker Edward Snowden spilled his guts.
‘No one on the [Senate] Intelligence Committee was even contrite,’ Paul recalled, jabbing also at his colleagues. ‘Their only regret was that the program was no longer secret.’
‘Your rights, especially your right to privacy, are under assault,’ he told the audience, in between stretches of sustained applause.
Referring to published claims that the Central Intelligence Agency spied on California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein’s staffers, Paul said: ‘I think I perceive fear of an intelligence community that’s drunk with power, unrepentant and uninclined to relinquish power.’