Rand Paul says some colleagues are hoping for a terrorist attack so they can blame him

Last week, Rand Paul accused Republican hawks of being responsible for creating the Islamic State.  Now he's saying that some of his colleagues secretly want a terrorist attack to occur so they can blame him and his opposition to the NSA spying program.

Not a terrific way to win friends in the Republican party.

The Hill:

"People here in town think I'm making a huge mistake. Some of them I think, secretly want there to be an attack on the United States, so they can blame it on me," Paul, who is running for president, said from the Senate floor.

Paul added that a reporter recently asked him if he would "'feel guilty'" if there was an attack.

"The people who attack us are responsible for attacks on us," he said. "So the ones who say when an attack occurs it's going to be all your fault, are any of them willing to accept the blame? We have bulk collection now, are any of them willing to accept the blame for the Boston bombing?

He told reporters after his speech that he's not opposed to "looking at the records of terrorists."

"In fact, I want to have more people looking at more records of terrorists, just less people looking at innocent Americans’ records," he said.

Paul's comments come after senators voted to move forward on the House-backed USA Freedom Act, which would end the NSA's "metadata" collection and instead require private companies to hold the records.

But Paul is opposed to the reform bill, as well as previous attempts by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to extend current Patriot Act provisions used to justify the NSA’s bulk, warrantless collection of Americans’ phone records.

He's made his opposition to the Patriot Act a key pillar of his presidential campaign, sending out tweets and emails to supporters to try to drum up support.

Paul is on solid political ground with his opposition to the NSA's mass telephone surveillance program, but far less so on his exaggerated name-calling.  And his total opposition to the renewal of some Patriot Act provisions is also problematic.  Hamstringing the NSA from performing legitimate data collection should be avoided, and Paul is demanding unrealistic some say dangerous limitations on the agency's ability to protect us.  Allowing the national security apparatus to return to a pre-9/11 posture is dangerous, and Paul risks looking like an extremist if he continues his effort to allow the Patriot Act to lapse.

There is no doubt Senator Paul is looking to carve out an independent political persona in order to differentiate himself from the 15 other potential presidential candidates in the GOP field.  But his recent statements and actions serve only to highlight his differences with the right on foreign policy.  And it certainly isn't helpful that he is wildly accusing his detractors of harboring secret desires for a terrorist attack in order to blame him for the deaths of Americans.

Last week, Rand Paul accused Republican hawks of being responsible for creating the Islamic State.  Now he's saying that some of his colleagues secretly want a terrorist attack to occur so they can blame him and his opposition to the NSA spying program.

Not a terrific way to win friends in the Republican party.

The Hill:

"People here in town think I'm making a huge mistake. Some of them I think, secretly want there to be an attack on the United States, so they can blame it on me," Paul, who is running for president, said from the Senate floor.

Paul added that a reporter recently asked him if he would "'feel guilty'" if there was an attack.

"The people who attack us are responsible for attacks on us," he said. "So the ones who say when an attack occurs it's going to be all your fault, are any of them willing to accept the blame? We have bulk collection now, are any of them willing to accept the blame for the Boston bombing?

He told reporters after his speech that he's not opposed to "looking at the records of terrorists."

"In fact, I want to have more people looking at more records of terrorists, just less people looking at innocent Americans’ records," he said.

Paul's comments come after senators voted to move forward on the House-backed USA Freedom Act, which would end the NSA's "metadata" collection and instead require private companies to hold the records.

But Paul is opposed to the reform bill, as well as previous attempts by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to extend current Patriot Act provisions used to justify the NSA’s bulk, warrantless collection of Americans’ phone records.

He's made his opposition to the Patriot Act a key pillar of his presidential campaign, sending out tweets and emails to supporters to try to drum up support.

Paul is on solid political ground with his opposition to the NSA's mass telephone surveillance program, but far less so on his exaggerated name-calling.  And his total opposition to the renewal of some Patriot Act provisions is also problematic.  Hamstringing the NSA from performing legitimate data collection should be avoided, and Paul is demanding unrealistic some say dangerous limitations on the agency's ability to protect us.  Allowing the national security apparatus to return to a pre-9/11 posture is dangerous, and Paul risks looking like an extremist if he continues his effort to allow the Patriot Act to lapse.

There is no doubt Senator Paul is looking to carve out an independent political persona in order to differentiate himself from the 15 other potential presidential candidates in the GOP field.  But his recent statements and actions serve only to highlight his differences with the right on foreign policy.  And it certainly isn't helpful that he is wildly accusing his detractors of harboring secret desires for a terrorist attack in order to blame him for the deaths of Americans.