Jeb Bush Defends Patriot Act in New Hampshire

He says not one shred of evidence exists that the Patriot Act has been used to violate any American's civil rights.

First In The Nation Republican Leadership Summit Held In New Hampshire

NASHUA, NH - APRIL 17: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit April 17, 2015 in Nashua, New Hampshire. The Summit brought together local and national Republicans and was attended by all the Republicans candidates as well as those eyeing a run for the nomination.

Photographer: Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Jeb Bush wants it clear: He's not going to #StandWithRand.

The undeclared presidential hopeful said not one shred of evidence exists that the Patriot Act, signed into law by his brother, former President George W. Bush less than two months after the terrorist attacks that downed New York City's World Trade Center, has been used to violate any American's civil rights.

Bush was asked about Paul's "faux filibuster" against a renewal of the law following a campaign stop today in the wine cellar of an Italian restaurant in Salem, New Hampshire. While he declined to engage on the Kentucky senator, an already-declared candidate for the Republican presidential nomination that Bush appears poised to seek, he professed to be unsure if the 10-hour, 31-minute effort amounted to an official filibuster. (It didn't.)

Related: Edward Snowden praises Rand Paul

"I'm not thinking about Senator Paul," said Bush, when asked if the Kentuckian's efforts to delay renewal of a law that expires soon amounted to a threat to national security. But he did say that provisions of the law Paul considers a violation of constitutionally protected rights to privacy are, in his view, "the tools that keep us safe."

"I do know this: I've checked with a lot of people inside and outside of government -- there's no evidence, not a shred of evidence, that there's been a violation of civil liberties because of the Patriot Act," Bush told reporters after addressing a few dozen supporters. "Those that have a different view, fine. That's fine, but it shouldn't be based on the fact that the U.S. government—because of the Patriot Act—is spying on innocent American citizens. It's just not true." 

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