It’s time again for me to take a swing at my favorite political punching bag, Rand Paul. This time it is in regards to a statement he made about Edward Snowden, the man who gave up his cushy job with a National Security Agency (NSA) contractor to enlighten us all on the widespread surveillance state we live under:
During an interview with Eric Bolling on Fox News last week, Sen. Paul was asked to respond to the video of director Clapper lying about the collection of data in March 2013 – before Snowden’s leaks. Paul told Bolling it’s ironic that the same legislators and pundits calling for Snowden’s imprisonment are turning a blind eye to Clapper’s committed felony in Congress. Disagreeing with the illustration Paul created, the Senator said he wants the law applied equally: both to Snowden for leaking and to Clapper for lying.
Along with Stephanopoulos’s question of clemency, the ABC pundit wanted Senator Paul to touch on his comments to Fox News’s Bolling, regarding a prison cell for Snowden. Paul told ABC’s “This Week” that the reasoning behind his statement was to convey a point of equality under the law, pointing out that Snowden and Clapper broke laws and that neither the pro-NSA or anti-NSA sides should throw a blind eye to broken laws.
Emphasis mine. This really irritates me for a couple of reasons. First, a precedence of jailing somebody who revealed criminal activity would decrease the likelihood of another person coming forward in the future. When agencies or corporations are engaging in criminal activity that information should be made public. Unless that information is made public it is too easy to cover up the evidence and sweep the story underneath the rug. This is especially true when oligarchs, such as government officials, are on the take. Based on the stories that have come to light about the activities of the NSA; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI); Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Department of Justice (DoJ) I don’t believe it is unreasonable to think anybody who used “proper channels” in an attempt to reveal criminal activity would find themselves in a cage or ditch.
Second, what Edward Snowden did was the right thing. Punishing Snowden for leaking those documents would be no different than punishing an armed person who stopped a school shooting. Yes, entering a school with a firearm is illegal but if it is done to stop somebody who is attempting to murder students and faculty then the violation of “gun-free” zone laws should be ignored. Likewise, any laws Snowden violated by leaking those documents should be ignored. More often than not the law stands between a good person and the right thing. When this happens the obstructing laws shouldn’t be enforced.
Rand Paul attracts support from both the neoconservative and libertarian sides of the aisle. The neoconservatives, rightly so, see a politician who is willing to talk the talk without walking the walk. Libertarian supporters of Rand Paul believe a rather absurd conspiracy theory. They believe that, upon being elected to the presidency, Rand Paul will turn away from his neoconservative nature and reign freedom and liberty upon this country. If somebody can show me a single instance of such a change occurring in a politician while he was in office I make consider that conspiracy theory a bit more than a theory. But as far as I’m aware such a change of heart has never occurred.