In an interview posted on Reason magazine’s website with magazine Editor in Chief Matt Welch, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, discussed Edward Snowden and how how he as commander-in-chief would handle the Snowden’s return.
Welch asked Paul what he would do if Snowden called him and said, “Alright, I’m ready to come back.” Paul acknowledged Snowden’s actions warranted punishment, but also said National Intelligence Director James Clapper would warrant being punished as well if Snowden did.
“You know, I think justice is about making punishment proportional to the crime,” Paul said. “And I think his intentions were to reveal something that he felt like the people in government were lying about. And it turns out they were lying. The director of National Intelligence committed perjury in front of the Senate committee. My understanding is it’s about a five-year sentence, but instead of getting any kind of sentence, instead of getting a slap on the wrist, or instead of even being fired, he’s been rewarded, and he’s still in charge of intelligence. And I think he’s done a great deal to damage trust.”
“On the other side of the coin, can you let people who have sensitive data just make the decision to reveal it to the world?” he continued. “I think you have to have laws against that. So I think there have to be laws against what Snowden did. Did he do it for a higher purpose? Does he have a high moral ground? All of that I think history will judge. But I’ve sort of tongue-in-cheek said that if I had the choice, I’d put Clapper and Snowden in the same jail cell for about the same period of time. That’s not a serious question, but I think it’d be an interesting debate they might have about liberty versus security.”
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