Following a report backing up President Donald Trump’s claims that he and other Americans were the subject of Obama administration spying during the 2016 election, Sen. Rand Paul is demanding any documents the administration may have compiled on him.
The Kentucky Republican announced via Twitter Friday that he has formally requested that the White House and government Intelligence Committees turn over any information they have on whether the senator was a surveillance subject during Obama’s tenure.
Paul asked in a tweet: “Did the Obama admin go after presidential candidates, members of Congress, journalists, clergy, lawyers, fed judges?”
The lawmaker was referencing a report out this week from Circa which revealed that after loosening rules concerning access to NSA information, surveillance activity within the highest levels of government increased.
From the report:
In all, government officials conducted 30,355 searches in 2016 seeking information about Americans in NSA intercept metadata, which include telephone numbers and email addresses. The activity amounted to a 27.5 percent increase over the prior year and more than triple the 9,500 such searches that occurred in 2013, the first year such data was kept.
The government in 2016 also scoured the actual contents of NSA intercepted calls and emails for 5,288 Americans, an increase of 13 percent over the prior year and a massive spike from the 198 names searched in 2013.
Paul says he wrote the White House asking for answers back in April after “an anonymous source recently alleged to me that my name, as well as the names of other Members of Congress, were unmasked, queried or both, in intelligence reports of intercepts during the prior administration.”
The senator supported President Trump’s claims about the previous administration’s election spying and “unmasking” procedures even as Obama officials categorically denied carrying out any such surveillance activity.
Paul in April said that former Obama national Security adviser Susan Rice is the central figure in the controversy.
“I believe Susan Rice abused the system and she did it for political purposes. She needs to be brought in and questioned under oath,” he said, adding, “This was a witch hunt that began with the Obama administration, sour grapes on the way out the door. They were going to use the intelligence apparatus to attack Trump, and I think they did.”