LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- In a stunning pushback to the National Security Agency, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) told WHAS11 Friday that he doesn't believe the NSA's claim that fifty potential terrorist attacks were thwarted by the controversial telephone and Internet surveillance of Americans.
"I don't really think we've caught anybody through any of this," Paul said.
"You'll notice when they say they've stopped fifty potential terrorists 'with this or other means.'" Paul said. "They've always had a name and they've always traced phone records. I'm for that. You ask a judge, you get permission."
"I don't think there's any reason we have to collect a billion phone calls everyday of every American's cell phone," Paul continued. "I think that's a step too far."
In an interview with WHAS11 earlier this week, Senate Intelligence Committee member Dan Coats (R-Ind) complained about some members of Congress mischaracterizing the NSA program for political gain. Coats says he personally invited Paul to meet with the NSA Director.
"I deal with this hours and hours and hours every week," Coats said. "I'm happy to sit down and talk with you about it or invite you to learn more about it. I just want to make sure the American people are getting the true story."
Paul says he has met with the NSA, but does not believe he will be told the truth.
"Part of the problem is that I've lost some confidence in the credibility of the intelligence community because they lied to us," Paul said. "In March of this year they were asked, 'Are you collecting any data on Americans, any data?' And they said, 'No. We're not collecting any data on Americans.'"
"And that's just a falsehood," Paul continued. "And so it makes me worry that I may not be told the truth."
Kentucky's junior senator said he has known about some of the classified programs for over a year but has been hamstrung by not being able to complain or investigate them publicly.
"We're not allowed to investigate the claims because all of it's secret," Paul explained, "so they tell you what they want you to hear."
"The bottom line is, I don't believe that any terrorists that we have caught or stopped couldn't have been caught with a traditional warrant."
And as Paul visited in Louisville's West End, he suggests his mistrust of the government resonates in the African-American community.
"There was a time in our country when we would just say, 'Oh, people are guilty.' One of it was when we judged the guilt of African Americans by lynching. So, people say that's a dramatic comparison. Well, that's why we have steps and processes to go through to make sure we don't have adjudication of guilt without a trial, without a lawyer, without a judge involved."