Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul wants Espionage Act repealed

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WASHINGTON - Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Saturday called for the end of the Espionage Act, less than a week after the FBI's search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.

"The espionage act was abused from the beginning to jail dissenters of WWI. It is long pastime to repeal this egregious affront to the 1st Amendment," he wrote on Twitter.

On Aug. 8, FBI agents took 11 sets of classified documents, according to the search warrant and a property receipt, both of which were released Friday. Some documents were labeled as "secret" or "top secret." The warrant showed the investigation was examining possible violations of the Espionage Act.

What is the Espionage Act: What is the Espionage Act? What to know, from the Sedition Act amendment to declassified documents.

Going to affect after the start of World War I, the Espionage Act of 1917 illegalized obtaining information, taking photos, or copying details of all information relevant to national defense with the intent for that information to be used against the U.S. or for the interest of other countries.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., seen on Capitol Hill on July 27, 2022. In the wake of the search of Trump's Palm Beach, Florida, home, Paul has called for a repeal of the Espionage Act.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., seen on Capitol Hill on July 27, 2022. In the wake of the search of Trump's Palm Beach, Florida, home, Paul has called for a repeal of the Espionage Act.

Many important parts of the Espionage Act are still in effect and can be used in the court of law. In its modern iteration, the act has been used to prosecute spies and leakers of classified information.

The investigation does not necessarily mean the former president is a spy, in Trump's particular case, the Espionage Act relates to "gathering, transmitting or losing defense information."

What to know about the FBI search: What did the FBI look for – and find – when searching Trump's Mar-a-Lago home? What we know

Contributing: Josh Meyer, Anna Kaufman

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul calls for repeal of Espionage Act