Likely 2016 presidential candidate Scott Walker said on Wednesday that if he were in the Senate, he would not have supported Rand Paul's protest against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act and the the NSA's domestic surveillance programs.
Paul held the Senate floor for almost eleven hours earlier this week to object to the ongoing collection of Americans' telephone records.
Speaking to talk radio host Michael Medved, Walker said it was "incredibly important" for national security that the government retain the legal authority to collect Americans' metadata en masse.
Walker said that he understands Paul's concerns, but thinks that the problems with the surveillance programs are "specific to this president and this administration," rather than issues with the law itself.
"We need to have the capacity to collect information that can be used to identify individuals who are linked to enemy combatants who are gonna do us harm,"
Walker said, adding that recent events at home and abroad — including the attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo earlier this year — "further reinforce" the importance of such programs.
Walker suggested that the French government had been monitoring the perpetrators of the Paris attack, but had "lost track of them" prior to the shooting -- and that France has decided "to pursue [...] even more aggressive legislation than the Patriot Act" as a result.
Calling such a move an "overreaction," Walker said that America must "balance the ability to protect ourselves from those sorts of terrorists and attacks" with the need to "hold the government accountable, to make sure that they do so in a way that protects our civil liberties."
"I think we can do that," concluded Walker, "and that's why, in this one, I don't share the same sentiment that Sen. Paul does."