Rand Paul Filibuster
US Senator Rand Paul delivers a 10-hour speech on the floor of the US Senate in WashingtonReuters

US presidential hopeful Rand Paul spoke for more than 10 hours at the Senate in Washington in an attempt to draw attention to reforms of the National Security Agency's surveillance powers.

Paul held the Senate floor from 1:18 to 11:49 pm local time, in what seemingly didn't qualify as an official filibuster as the bill in discussion was on an unrelated matter (trade) and the Republican also failed to make it past midnight so to delay the congressional schedule for the next day.

The Kentucky libertarian spoke against the renewal of the Patriot Act, arguing that proposed changes to the post 9/11 legislation do not go far enough.

"There comes a time in the history of nations when fear and complacency allow power to accumulate and liberty and privacy to suffer," he told the Senate at the beginning of his address. "That time is now, and I will not let the Patriot Act, the most unpatriotic of acts, go unchallenged."

He went on for almost 11 hours, without sitting but with the help of a few colleagues who broke his speech with lengthy questions.

It wasn't the first time Paul, who is running for Republican presidential candidate made a marathon speech at the Senate, as in 2013 he spoke for 13 hours against the US drone policies, filibustering John Brennan's nomination to head the CIA.

Last week, the House voted overwhelmingly in favour of the USA Freedom Act, which would replace the Patriot Act that expires in June, ending bulk collection of Americans' phone data but still allow surveillance on a case-by-case basis under court approval. The changes, backed by the White House, are now to be voted by the Senate.

Five Longest US Senate filibusters

Here is a list of the five longest US Senate filibusters detailing time, speaker, issue and date, according to AP.

  • 24h, 18min: Strom Thurmond, civil rights bill, 1957.
  • 23h, 30min: Alfonse D'Amato, military bill, 1986.
  • 22h, 26min: Wayne Morse, Tidelands oil bill, 1953.
  • 18h, 23min: Robert La Follette Sr., currency bill, 1908.
  • 16h, 12min: William Proxmire, debt increase, 1981.

Paul's republican challenger Ted Cruz held the Senate's floor for more than 20 hours speaking against President Obama's healthcare reform in 2013, although also his attempt didn't officially qualify as a filibuster.

More about filibusters