POLITICS
11/23/2015 10:29 am ET

Spy On Muslim Americans? 'Absolutely Not,' Rand Paul Says

The Kentucky Republican slammed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for suggesting additional surveillance.
GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is against spying on Muslim Americans.
Steve Pope via Getty Images
GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is against spying on Muslim Americans.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says he does not think the U.S. should specifically target Muslim Americans with surveillance programs in the wake of the deadly Paris terror attacks.

"Yes we should follow people who are a risk," the Republican presidential hopeful said Sunday on CBS' "Face The Nation." "Should we talk to their neighbors and friends, should we talk to their Imam? Sure, all of that is legitimate. But should we target mosques and have a database of Muslims? Absolutely not."

Fellow presidential candidate Donald Trump caused a stir last week when he suggested the U.S. ought to track Muslim Americans using a federal database and spy on the nation's mosques.

"I would hate to do it, but it's something you're going to have to strongly consider," Trump said.

Paul, a libertarian-leaning senator who opposes large-scale government surveillance, noted Sunday that such programs didn't help French authorities stop the terrorist attacks in Paris. He also took aim at Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another of his rivals for the GOP nomination, for stating that U.S. officials should close down "any place, whether it’s a cafe, a diner, an internet site, any place where radicals are being inspired." 

"I think that's really disqualified Rubio," Paul said. "That would require some sort of religious czar that I think isn't consistent with our freedom."

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