Rand Paul in Berkeley
It doesn't roll as trippingly off the tongue as "Ted Cruz in Takoma Park," but...
This week in left/right/libertarian convergence: Sen. Rand Paul visits Berkeley. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Cheered by a youthful audience in one of the country's most liberal enclaves, Sen. Rand Paul—one of the Republican Party's leading contenders for the White House in 2016—delivered a scathing rebuke to the U.S. intelligence community Wednesday, calling it "drunk with power."
"I don't know about you, but I'm worried," the Kentucky senator told 400 people who filled a hall at UC Berkeley's International House. "If the CIA is spying on Congress, who exactly can or will stop them?"
Paul's comments come one week after Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., took to the Senate floor to accuse the CIA of illegal computer searches intended to hinder her Intelligence Committee's probe of alleged U.S. torture of terrorism suspects.
Paul said Feinstein's allegations had shaken Washington. "I look into the eyes of senators and I think I see real fear," he said. "I think I perceive fear of an intelligence community drunk with power, unrepentant and uninclined to relinquish power."
He said he had told Feinstein, "'Great speech, everybody is talking about it.' I hope she will stand up, not let the CIA push her around, not let the NSA push her around."
For more coverage, read the San Jose Mercury News here and the Washington Post here. At different points in his speech, the papers report, Paul said the GOP should expand its tent on social issues, called for a new Church Committee to investigate the national security state, threw in a reference to Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and suggested, in a line that I suspect we'll be hearing more about, that it's "ironic that the first African-American president has without compunction allowed this vast exercise of raw power by the NSA," given the government's surveillance of the civil rights movement.
Update: Here's a video of the talk: