Liberals, Tea Party Join in Outrage at Phone Data Seizure

It's not often that tea party darling Sen. Rand Paul and liberal Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley find themselves on the same side of an issue — but Thursday they did, thanks to a report on the U.S. government's court-approved subpoena of telecom data from Verizon. "Can the FBI or the NSA really claim that they need data scooped up on tens of millions of Americans?" Merkley asked, while Paul called the seizure "an astounding assault on the Constitution." Paul offered an amendment last year that would have attached Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The proposal was overwhelmingly defeated — but the 12 votes it received came from himself, two GOP colleagues and nine Democrats, including Merkley. Their common denominator: a libertarian streak and mistrust of executive power. ("You know we’re in strange territory when Sen. [Ted] Cruz and I have the same questions," liberal Democratic Sen. Al Franken said in April of the concern he and the freshman Texas Republican shared about drone policies.)

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