Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said in many ways NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden performed a “noble gesture,” but he reserves judgment as to whether the 29-year-old should be tracked down and brought to justice or honored for his act of civil disobedience.
“I think what’s most important is that what he’s talking about, which is the Bill of Rights, the Fourth Amendment, the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure,” Paul asserted on Fox’s “O’Reilly Factor.” “That does rise to a very high level for me.”
Paul continued to take aim at the NSA’s eavesdropping programs, having earlier written in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that they are a manifestation of a virtual police state and accusing the agency of an “extraordinary invasion of privacy” by sifting through more than one billion phone calls placed on Verizon lines each day.
“He’s practicing civil disobedience. But many times in our history we’ve honored people who have done that,” said Paul of the whistleblower, who is believed to be in Hong Kong. “I’m reserving judgment on that.”
Paul said that he doesn’t believe the type of information Snowden leaked rises to the level of classified information that “might get people killed in the field,” which would be of greater concern.
“I think he released information to say, ‘look the Bill of Rights is being ignored’ and I think that in many ways it’s a noble gesture because he’s having to give up a great deal,” said Paul “He will be on the run.”
Paul added that the Obama administration is “horrified” that the American public learned of the NSA programs, which he said may be broader than initially thought.
“I think every phone call and every cell phone in America is getting the same order,” Rand told host Bill O’Reilly. “You think they just picked Verizon?”
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