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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Friday told Breitbart News that several sources have told him that the Obama administration spied on his presidential campaign.
“We’ve had several people come to us and say that it happened. I don’t have access to that information, but I’ve been very concerned that too many Americans’ information is being culled through without a warrant,” he told Breitbart News.
“I don’t have any facts to say it happened,” he said. “But numerous sources are coming to us saying it did happen so I want to search through, find out why I wasn’t notified. Was it on purpose?”
“There’s a lot of things to be found out, particularly since we found out that Susan Rice was unmasking people and we need to know was there a political motivation, because one of the real dangers in a free society is if government gets so powerful it’s listening to all of our phone calls, the possibility of extortion, the possibility of blackmail — all of that goes up exponentially,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Paul revealed that he had requested information from the White House and the intelligence community on whether he was surveilled by the Obama administration or the intelligence community.
I have formally requested from the WH and the Intel Committees info on whether I was surveilled by Obama admin and or the Intel community!
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) May 5, 2017
In a letter Paul sent to President Trump on April 10, he asked that the administration “promptly investigate” whether his name or the names of other members of Congress, individuals from their staffs or campaigns, were included in queries or searches of database of the intelligence community, or if their identities were unmasked in any intelligence reports or products.
Paul said at a CATO Institute speech later that he was sending a new letter Friday morning.
“We have several sources telling us that members of the Obama administration were looking at politicians, particularly who were running for office,” he said.
Paul said he has never received a “Gates notification,” which Congress is supposed to receive if the intelligence community reveals the identity of a lawmaker in a National Security Agency intercept.
He said in the new letter, he is asking specifically whether there was a Gates notification for him.
He said he’s heard from people “specific aspects of a private conversation” he had with President Obama.
“How’s anybody know that? How did General Flynn’s conversation get reported? They keep using the word incidental. Don’t let that let your guard down. There’s a million Americans having their phone calls recorded incidentally. It’s not just a no big deal to have your phone call recorded,” he said.
“Particularly if someone in the intelligence community uses the media to destroy you…As an American citizen, I’m horrified that his private conversation was leaked. Does the president not have any privacy in who he talks to?”
Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was forced to step down after a private conversation he had with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kisylak was leaked to the Washington Post.
“This is very very worrisome, and what we’ve allowed to happen,” Paul said.
Paul was among several Republican members of Congress who ran for president in 2016. The others were Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Paul’s query comes after news reports revealed last month that former President Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice had requested the unmasking of Trump campaign officials. She has not denied doing so, only doing anything illegal or “untoward.”
Rice on Wednesday denied an invite from Graham to appear before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Monday to testify on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.
Rice’s lawyer said in a letter that Rice declined after the subcommittee’s Democrat ranking member had notified her that he disagreed with the invite.
Paul told Breitbart News “I think it’s especially egregious if it’s happening to another branch of government, that one branch of government is spying on the other branch of government and you don’t really have checks and balances.”
“I can’t for the life of me think of any reason why I would be part of an investigation. And it also goes further to prove that maybe we have an intelligence community run amok if they’re looking at political figures, because I had nothing to do with any of the other things,” he added.