Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas

DES MOINES, Iowa – Ron Paul told a group of conservative Republicans today that he fears the terror tactics of America’s own government more than Islamist threats from overseas.

“Our government, instead of protecting our privacy and protecting our Fourth Amendment rights,” Paul said, “they protect the secrecy of government and they invade on your privacy.”

Paul criticized “50,000 SWAT break-ins without proper search warrants” in the federal government’s war on drugs, Obama’s decision to assassinate American citizens, including Anwar al-Alwaki, and the Patriot Act of 2001.

“We way overreacted – over my objection – right after 9/11,” Paul said. “I see no benefit and no purpose – it undermines liberty – the fact that Congress passed and placed on us the Patriot Act. It should be repealed.”

After blasting the federal government’s lack of transparency and violation of the U.S. Constitution in both foreign and domestic policy, Paul concluded, “I fear the erosion of our liberties and our economy here at home more than I do any foreign adversary.”

Paul was speaking to the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, or NFRA, a group he called “the constitutional wing of the Republican Party.”

The NFRA describes itself as a grassroots movement to “take back the Republican Party for the vast and disenfranchised majority of its members: Reagan conservatives, who believe in small government, lower taxes, free market capitalism, a strong defense, the right to life and a decent America.”

The NFRA was holding its Presidential Preference Convention, which brought in delegates from around the country with hopes of endorsing a candidate they believe best represents an alternative to the RINOs (Republicans in name only) currently holding or running for office.

“We endorse candidates in contested primaries, so rank-and-file Republicans can know who the true conservative candidates really are,” the NFRA website explains. “We shuck the corn, with highly competitive grassroots endorsing conventions at which candidates must secure two-thirds of our delegates’ support to win. And when we’re done, there’s no question who is who.”

Paul joined Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich (by video) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s wife, Anita, in addressing the convention.

In addition to scathing criticism of the Federal Reserve, deficit spending and the Solyndra and “Fast and Furious” scandals, Paul made several comments about U.S. foreign policy.

For example, he bashed the Korean War, arguing the U.S. “went because of United Nations resolution,” and received a standing ovation when he declared, “We should only go to war when the people of our country declare we should go to war.”

Paul also condemned the killing of Anwar al-Alwaki’s teenaged son, arguing, “How intimidated to we have to be to assassinate a 16-year-old?”

On a related theme, he criticized the U.S. military’s attack drones at use in Yemen and Pakistan, suggesting that the killing of innocents in drone strikes “annoy” the native people of the Middle East and make enemies overseas.

Paul has previously argued that America’s foreign policy is partly responsible for the threat of terrorist attacks.

Ealier this year in Winterset, Iowa, Paul told a man on the campaign trail, “I don’t see Islam as our enemy,” blaming U.S. occupation of other countries and the killing of “a lot of innocent people” for creating enemies.

“Osama bin Laden wins by ‘proving’ that America is an enemy of Islam and has an occupation agenda in the Middle East,” Paul wrote in a statement last year. “And we continue to walk into his trap and hand him up his best recruitment tool in his efforts to provoke hatred and terrorism against the United States.

“If we don’t want to incite radical Islamists,” he continued, “we need to stop these un-needed wars. It is high time we came to our senses, brought our troops home to defend our country and pursued a Constitutional, Pro-American foreign policy.”

At the NFRA convention Paul pledged, if elected president, to cut a trillion dollars from the U.S. budget and to drastically scale back U.S. military presence overseas.

“We are falling in the footsteps of what the Soviets were doing, spreading our sails too thin,” Paul declared. “It’s time for us to come home and mind our own business.”

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