Foreign and Defense Policy, Defense

Edward Snowden, leaker of NSA documents, is a Ron Paul fan

Ron Paul at CPAC 2011

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

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?

Since the leak, Rand Paul has declared the NSA’s activities an “astounding assault on the Constitution” and an “extraordinary invasion of privacy.”

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.

13 thoughts on “Edward Snowden, leaker of NSA documents, is a Ron Paul fan

  1. 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.

    Tar the senator? If someone has the courage to expose unconstitutional activity why is that person prosecuted to begin with? And why are the people that he supports tainted?

    This is the problem with the AEI and the GOP in general. As an outsider who is fascinated with American politics I have noticed that the only reason why the idiot Democrats keep getting elected is because the GOP and its supporters do not have the courage to stand up for principles. You would think that you would have learned from the abuses carried out by the IRS not very long ago. Why do you suppose that the NSA would be any less corrupt and not go after anyone on the presidential enemies list? And the last time I checked most of the AIE people were likely on that list. Do you really think that Walter Williams or Thomas Sewell will not have their calls and e-mails monitored? How about Rand Paul? Or anyone else who argues for liberty?

  2. Not sure about this NSA ‘whistle-blower’, it is possible that Snowden is a directed plant by the powers that be. The less likely scenario is that he actually does defend individual freedom, something that AEI, the Reps nor the Dims have much if any interest in doing!

  3. The idea Sen. Paul should distance himself from Mr. Snowden is ludicrous, a PsyOps nuance substituting for journalism. …Semper Fi

  4. “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.”

    More importantly if the American people embrace truth telling or not will be more telling for the future of America.
    1984 is here. Will we mindlessly tolerate it or will we demand a return to a free society? Will we demand privacy for citizens and transparency in government or tolerate transparency for citizens and secrecy for government?

    • INFREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT “TERROR”

      SNOOPER-IN-CHIEF General Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, says that collecting the phone numbers of all of us, and storing them, has prevented “dozens of terrorist events.” OK. So, what is a “terrorist event?” And is it possible that what the NSA itself has done and is continuing to do is itself a “terrorist event?” Well, here’s how the last trustworthy dictionary* defines “terror”:

      TER’ROR, n. [L. terror, from terreo, to frighten.]
      1. Extreme fear; violent dread; fright; fear that agitates the body and mind.

      2. That which may excite dread; the cause of extreme fear.

      OK, so let’s be reasonable here. Is it reasonable to assume that what has been revealed about the NSA and our phone calls has caused many Americans to be frightened, to be fearful to the point where their fear has agitated the body and mind?

      I would think so, yes.

      Is it reasonable to assume that some folks have even been extremely fearful and violently dreadful upon learning about what the NSA has been doing for years and continues to do?

      More than likely, yes.

      OK, then by definition the NSA has itself caused numerous “terrorist events.”

      True. But, how MANY Americans have been “terrorized” by the revelations concerning the NSA. THAT is the question!

      Well, I, of course, do not know the exact number. But, I think it is reasonable to guess it’s been more than “dozens.” I think it is reasonable to assume that considering the actual definition of “terror” the NSA has perpetrated far more “terrorism” than the NSA has stopped —”terror” being not limited to just blowing things up and murdering people.

      True.

      *Noah Webster, 1828.

      John Lofton, Recovering Republican
      Editor, JohnLofton.com
      Also: Archive.TheAmericanView.com
      Active Facebook Wall
      [email protected]

  5. Snowden was SF and took an oath to uphold the Constitution. If he also took an oath later to keep evidence of domestic threats to the Constitution, it’s unfortunate that he could not uphold both, but he made the moral decision.

    It’s not ‘up to’ Rand Paul to distance himself or weigh in to this in any way.

    But if he DID stand up for Snowden my respect for him would certainly go up. Rand is already getting attention in areas of the civil libertarian left, this would help.

    And any idea that this would hurt him with the libertarian right (more than endorsing Romney already did) or mainstream right (more than voting for cloture on immigration reform) is sheer fantasy.

    He probably won’t weigh in, but if he did, I think it would be a net plus. Even most mainstream republicans are no longer the fascist sort of ‘genuflect to the flag no matter what’. The flag stands for an ideal. It doesn’t stand for unconstitutional acts draped in the flag.

    It’s not the flag, stupid, it’s the Constitution.

    And of course this is what progressives hate. They want people to worship the symbol of a thing, rather than understand the principles of the thing themselves.

  6. Anytime an individual can shine the light of transparency on the cockroaches of our government it is a good day. Everyday people are waking up to the reality that our government, regardless of party, is abusive and dishonest.

  7. Marc,
    Bill Kristol called and he’s upset that you’re using his talking points without crediting him. Give credit where credit is due.

    As a Jewish American aware of history, I am deeply concerned by how this out-of-control government has ignored the rule of law and run roughshod over civil and individual liberties. It’s not hard to imagine that the surveillance state could ultimately be used against minorities or political dissidents.

  8. What a surprise… a writer for Israel lobby group AEI hates our Bill of Rights and those who support it.

    AEI sure does love our money, and the blood of our soldiers spilled fighting Israel’s neighbors.

  9. “It’s up to Senator Paul to separate himself from Snowden’s embrace. Whether he does will be telling indeed.”

    What’s actually telling is this article. If you can get Rand Paul to go on the record against Snowden, then you think the case will be sealed and you can do with him as you please.

  10. 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.”

    People can reasonably disagree as to whether Mr.Snowden is or is not a whistleblower, but are you telling me you disagree with Mr. Snowden’s statement above? Hello! Look at the entire Obama administration – it is a disgusting mess of corrupt imbeciles who will never be held accountable. That is certainly corrosive to our society and to suggest otherwise is astonishing.

    • People can reasonably disagree as to whether Mr.Snowden is or is not a whistleblower, but are you telling me you disagree with Mr. Snowden’s statement above? Hello! Look at the entire Obama administration – it is a disgusting mess of corrupt imbeciles who will never be held accountable. That is certainly corrosive to our society and to suggest otherwise is astonishing.

      Both the GOP and Democratic Party agree; individual liberty is old fashioned and gets in the way. The issue in contention is not the unconstitutional programs but who runs those programs.

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