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Sen. Paul Asks DHS Nominee Johnson: Do You Think the Fourth Amendment Applies to My Visa Purchases?

November 13, 2013 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Sen. Rand Paul today attended the nomination hearing of Jeh Johnson to be Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Sen. Paul asked Mr. Johnson a series of questions regarding the scope of Fourth Amendment protections on American citizens, as well as civil liberties and privacy issues. Below is video of Sen. Paul’s questioning of Mr. Johnson.



PAUL: Thank you, Mr. Johnson, for your testimony.
I was wondering, do you think the Fourth Amendment applies to my Visa purchases?
J. JOHNSON: I don’t have a legal opinion on that, Senator. I think that there may be a privacy interest there, but I don’t have a legal opinion for you right now.

PAUL: I hope you’ll think about it. And I think it’s something we all need to think about. And I think the current Supreme Court law actually probably says no. I think it’s a tragedy, but that’s the way the law has gone.
With my Visa bill, you can tell what books I read, what magazines I read. You can tell whether I go to a psychiatrist — not yet. You can tell what medicines I buy. You can tell virtually everything about my life, because everything I buy I put on my Visa card.
People say, ‘Well, I don’t have any expectation of privacy because it’s a third-party record. I gave it up to someone.’
I think this is a big issue for us, and, frankly, the Administration hasn’t been very supportive of the Fourth Amendment. And we’re going to press these issues.
But I want you to know that we will be watching, and that those of us who believe in the Fourth Amendment will be continuing to watch.
Do you think that a single warrant can apply to millions of records and millions of individuals?
J. JOHNSON: I understand that may be an issue with regard to certain surveillance programs. I don’t have a — I don’t have a legal opinion on that for your, Senator.

PAUL: Pretty important issue. It’s going to be one of the biggest issues, and, hopefully, it’ll get into the Supreme Court.
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