Turns out Edward Snowden — the former CIA employee and NSA contractor who leaked documents revealing top-secret National Security Agency programs tracking terrorist communications — is a Paulbot.
The Washington Post reports: “According to campaign finance reports, Snowden made a $250 donation to Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign in March of that year.”
The revelation is of particular interest because one of the harshest critics of the NSA since the leaks began has been… Senator Rand Paul. Taken in isolation, the fact that Snowden supported the elder Paul’s presidential bid should not necessarily tar the senator. Politicians can’t be held responsible for all the actions of their supporters. But in addition to his campaign contributions, Snowden’s comments explaining his reasons for leaking are virtually indistinguishable from Senator Paul’s criticisms of the NSA program.
In an interview with the Post, Snowden goes on a Paulian rant about the dangers of the “surveillance state.”
He rails against “the dangerous truth behind the US policies that seek to develop secret, irresistible powers and concentrate them in the hands of an unaccountable few.”
He declares that “At this point in history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from the reasonable fear of omniscient State powers kept in check by nothing but policy documents.”
He says, “I oppose…omniscient, automatic, mass surveillance… That seems to me the greater threat to the institutions of a free society than missed intelligence reports.”
And he blasts President Obama for “excusing the prior administration from investigation” for its surveillance activities, declaring: “It set an example that when powerful figures are suspected of wrongdoing, releasing them from the accountability of law is ‘for our own good.’ That’s corrosive to the basic fairness of society.”
How about Senator Paul?
He accused President Obama of having a worse “bent towards authoritarianism” than former President George W. Bush.
He has declared: “If the president and Congress would obey the Fourth Amendment we all swore to uphold, this new shocking revelation that the government is now spying on citizens’ phone data en masse would never have happened.”
He has introduced legislation to restrict the NSA activities, declaring: “The revelation that the NSA has secretly seized the call records of millions of Americans, without probable cause, represents an outrageous abuse of power and a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.”
He has blasted “these increasingly frequent violations of every American’s constitutional rights,” and promised: “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level.”
Now Senator Paul needs to explain: does he support Edward Snowden’s actions? Does he support his arrest and prosecution? Does he consider Snowden a whistleblower or a criminal? A hero or a felon?
Snowden apparently embraces the Paul franchise. It’s up to Senator Paul to separate himself from Snowden’s embrace. Whether he does will be telling indeed.