Sen. Rand Paul — one of the few congressional supporters of fugitive leaker Edward Snowden — warned the former National Security Agency contractor that cozying up to the Russian or Chinese government could cost him his credibility.
Speaking Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," the Kentucky Republican said, "I do think, for Mr. Snowden, if he cozies up to the Russian government, it will be nothing but bad for his name in history.
"If he goes to an independent third country like Iceland and if he refuses to talk to any sort of formal government about this, I think there's a chance that he'll be seen as an advocate of privacy,” Paul said.
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"If he cozies up to either the Russian government, the Chinese government, or any of these governments that are perceived still as enemies of ours,” Paul said, “I think that will be a real problem for him in history."
Paul's remarks came as Snowden landed in Moscow, having been allowed to leave Hong Kong despite requests from the Justice Department that the government there extradite him to the U.S. He is expected to fly to Cuba en route to Venezuela or Ecuador.
Snowden faces espionage charges
for leaking classified information about the NSA's secret surveillance of Internet and phone records.
Paul maintained that Snowden's actions were justified.
"He did break his oath of office, but part of his oath of office is to the Constitution,” Paul argued.
History, he said, will determine if Snowden or James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, is the bigger villain in the scandal.
"Mr. Clapper lied in Congress in defiance of the law in the name of security. Mr. Snowden told the truth in the name of privacy.
" There will be a judgment because both of them broke the law, and history will have to determine."
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