The United States government hasn’t revealed just yet how it will handle the case of Edward Snowden, but former congressman Ron Paul says he fears the Obama administration will resort to taking down the NSA leaker with a drone strike.
Speaking to Fox Business News on Tuesday, the former Republican congressman from Texas said, “I’m worried about somebody in our government might kill him with a cruise missile or a drone missile.”
“I mean, we live in a bad time where American citizens don’t even have rights and that they can be killed. But the gentleman is trying to tell the truth about what’s going on,” Paul said.
Rep. Paul, who retired from Congress earlier this year after an unsuccessful bid at the presidency, has been outspoken in regards to both the Obama White House’s drone program and the need to protect whistleblowers. On the campaign trail last year he hailed Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks source behind hundreds of thousands of sensitive files, and earlier this week he threw his weight behind supporting Snowden.
“The Fourth Amendment is clear,” the Washington Times reports Paul said earlier this week. “We should be secure in our persons, houses, paper and effects, and all warrants must have probable cause. Today the government operates largely in secret, while seeking to know everything about our private lives – without probable cause and without a warrant.”
“The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing,” he said. “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk. They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.”
Adding to Fox Business, Paul said, “It’s a shame that we are in an age where people who tell the truth about what the government is doing gets into trouble.”
Previously, Paul had harsh words for the drone program after an unmanned aerial vehicle was used to execute three US citizens in Yemen in 2011. “Now we know American citizens are vulnerable to assassination,” he said during a GOP debate last year. But despite Rep. Paul’s efforts to turn the drone program on its ear, the White House has continued to order strikes against suspected terrorists, an issue that it has only really began to discuss in public in recent months after the congressman’s son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) demanded the administration justify the killing of Americans.
“America cannot take strikes wherever we choose – our actions are bound by consultations with partners, and respect for state sovereignty,” President Barack Obama said during a national security address in Washington, DC last month in which he admitted that drones have killed four US citizens between 2009 and 2011. “America does not take strikes to punish individuals – we act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people, and when there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat. And before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set,” he said.
Samir Khan, Jude Kenan Mohammed, Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki — were all executed by US drones. Attorney General Eric Holder admitted last month that only the elder al-Awlaki was targeted to strike, adding at least three Americans to the list of collateral damage causalities created in the name of the drone war.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics’ website OpenSecrets.org, Snowden made two contributions totaling $500 to the presidential campaign of then-Rep. Ron Paul during 2012.
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