Rand Paul: James Clapper and Edward Snowden Should Share a Jail Cell

In an interview with Fox News on Friday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) said that National Intelligence chief James Clapper and NSA leaker Edward Snowden should "share a jail cell," intimating that Clapper is as much a criminal as the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower (or traitor depending on what school of opinion you subscribe to). Clapper testified before Congress denying that the NSA was not engaging in supposed dragnet surveillance of American citizens. Leaks by Snowden about the NSA's spying activities proved that Clapper had committed perjury when he testified earlier in the year before lawmakers.

"So I think, personally, [Snowden] probably would come home for some penalty of a few years in prison, which would be probably not unlike what James Clapper probably deserves for lying to Congress," Paul said, "and that maybe if they served in a prison cell together, we’d become further enlightened as a country over what we should and shouldn’t do."

Senator Paul made the comment during an interview with Fox News’ Eric Bolling Friday night. He also unveiled a class action lawsuit against the Obama administration over the NSA’s domestic surveillance program.

"The question here is whether or not, constitutionally, you can have a single warrant apply to millions of people," he told Fox News. "So we thought what better way to illustrate the point than by having hundreds of thousands of Americans sign up for a class-action suit… It’s kind of an unusual class-action suit, in that we think everybody in America who has a cell phone would be eligible for a class-action suit."

He urged Americans to visit http://www.randpac.com and sign onto the lawsuit. He claimed on Friday during the interview that several hundreds of thousands of people had already signed on.

"We want them to understand that we’re not willing to trade our liberty for security," Paul said of the lawsuit. "We think we can have both, but we’re very upset that this president doesn’t seem to concerned about our right to privacy."

Speaking on Face The Nation on Sunday morning, Paul said that Edward Snowden does not deserve the death penalty or even life in prison for leaking classified information about the NSA.

"I think that’s inappropriate and I think that’s why he fled, because that’s what he faced," Paul said on Face the Nation.

Paul is one of several Republican candidates expected to take a run at the presidency in 2016.

Sources: Daily Caller, MSNBC

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  1. 0
    black manta says:

    MechaTama is pretty much spot-on with this; putting it better than I ever could why Snowden should be punished despite having done something beneficial.

    The people who want Snowden to get off scot-free don't understand that life doesn't work that way.  You can still do the right thing and still break the law.  Yes, Snowden was a government contractor, so Federal whistleblower laws wouldn't have applied to him.  So in that respect, I can see where he was forced to resort to illegal methods to bring this NSA information to light.  But at the end of the day, he still broke the law.  At the very least, he stole government property, which is wrong no matter how you slice it.  You can argue about the rightness or the wrongness of a crime the person is charged with under a law until you're blue in the face.  But until that law is changed or repealed, it's still there and MUST be enforced.  Otherwise it and by extension our other laws are meaningless.  And pardoning Snowden will send a message that there are NO negative consequences for your actions.

    Life isn't a movie.  The hero does not ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after.  Sometimes life is is more like the ending of the play The Crucible: John Proctor does the right thing, and technically "wins," but the play ends with him still in jail and sentenced to death and the authority figures he fought against still in power, with the status quo not having been immediately changed.  It sucks, sure.  But that's how it is in real life.

  2. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    I'm not saying I'm fine with it.  I'm saying one's feelings on the rightness of his actions, or the rightness of the law, have zero bearing on whether or not he broke the law.  He did break the law.  Period.  Did the result justify breaking the law?  Should we change the law?  Those are things you can argue.  But break the law, he most certainly did.  Saying otherwise is just false.  And it makes your argument weaker, because rather than being a disagreement about the rightness of his actions, or what (if any) punishment he deserves, it seems as if you don't even comprehend the facts of the situation.

  3. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    No, I can't think of a way.  But that still doesn't make it legal.  Breaking the law, even if it's because it's necessary to do the right thing, is still breaking the law.  He blew the lid off information that he was contractually and legally bound to keep secret.  You can argue the right and wrong of it until you're blue in the mouth, but it was unquestionably illegal.

  4. 0
    GrimCW says:

    But he would be given a free pass (plea bargain) on his crime likely having it heavily reduced to trespassing rather than breaking and entering. Something that many are trying to keep snowden from having a chance at.

    The problem is, its only illegal in the sense that he was forced to make a choice of being gagged locally and prevented from getting the information out there. Or getting it out where it needed to be and running as he did.

    The collateral damage would've happened regardless of where he let the information go at though, at least if he was able to get it out. If he'd stayed in the states he would've been imprisoned and disavowed instantly, and nothing more would've come of it because anything he had on the NSA would've been locked away and sealed before getting out. Internal investigations may have been launched, but their results would've been sealed away forever much like the Kennedy Assassination files that Bush re-sealed before he left office… Why reseal something the WORLD wants to know about?! I won't say theres real news in there, but it is a curious thing to have done.

    He did what the government is supposed to be doing any ways, and informed the people of its activities. Especially ones that affect the majority of the population of the country. The issue is the government has repeatedly taken steps to force down silence on such things so they can continue to do what the NSA had been doing, and hide behind these newly created legalities as a way to protect themselves from being ousted. Worse is how the NSA lied to the government that controls it, meaning that the organization was undermining its own people right there. And the government that is supposed to be telling the NSA what to do, had no existing knowledge of the activities its own organization had going on.

    Thats not a good thing…. Yes it was illegal, but it shouldn't't be illegal to blow in an organization undermining its own people and government as the NSA had been doing. Yes it caused massive back lash from the local and world governments, but that would've happened regardless. Its only a matter of degree at that point, and that who would've listened had he not first gotten the worlds attention by fleeing.

    Can you think of any way he could've done this "legally" and not been silenced within seconds and blown off as just another nut case like the "WWII didn't happen" loonies?? Because honestly I cannot with how the laws are written, and the control that is currently held.

  5. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    I think you are confusing "right" with "legal".  Ideally, they would be the same thing.  Sadly, they are often not.  What Snowden did is unquestionably illegal.  And while I'm glad to see the country at large finally waking up to this surveillance and having a discussion about it, I think Snowden went much farther than he had to to instigate that discussion.  He has caused a lot of collateral damage, and uses the threat of causing more as a self-serving bargaining chip.  Some good did come of it (at least I hope it will), but Saint Snowden he ain't.

    To expand your analogy, it would be more like punishing a burglar who called in a murder that he witnessed while in the middle of a burglary.  It's great that he called in the murder and all, but that doesn't mean he is innocent of his own crime.

  6. 0
    GrimCW says:

    He's saying that he should be jailed, and maybe share the same cell as the man he blew in.

    But he shouldn't get the death penalty or life sentence as many are calling for.

    Thats what I see. I see him agreeing with the agencies that are out for blood, but at the same time trying to be "civil" enough just to appease the masses.

    Its still punishing him for doing what was very right in the situation where, by all means, he did no wrong. He broke some obscure law meant to protect from spies supposedly.

    But Snowden isn't the one who was assaulting the american people behind their backs. Clapper however did, as did the NSA. And they lied right to the very government they supposedly work for on top of it.  Snowden just did what was right and let the people know the truth. If he hadn't fled though the Government would've had him bound and gagged in seconds, as they've been trying to do ever since he came out. He's embarrassed them all (even those that didn't know), and justified any number of once shot down conspiracy theories that whack jobs have been throwing around for years.

    He did what needed be done to set things right. Punishing him would be akin to punishing a person for calling in a murder.


  7. 0
    dregstudios says:

    Snowden is a hero and a patriot in my book.  We live in an age where the civil liberties our forefathers fought so hard for are being eroded by the day.  Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly are mere ghostly images of their original intent.  We’ve woken up to an Orwellian Society of Fear where anyone is at the mercy of being labeled a terrorist for standing up for rights we took for granted just over a decade ago.  Read about how we’re waging war against ourselves at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/living-in-society-of-fear-ten-years.html

  8. 0
    Neeneko says:


    Given how much venom I have seen for the idea of class action lawsuits coming from libertarians over the last few years, I will be curious to see how this plays out from a PR standpoint.

    And ultimately, that is all this is.  A publicity stunt.  Legally (though one can question how crummy the law is here) this has pretty much zero chance due to lack of standing.

  9. 0
    locopuyo says:

    You might want to read the article and consider the context of the quote.  

    Rand Paul is saying that other people think Snowden should be in jail but he thinks the person that should be in jail is James Clapper.  

  10. 0
    GrimCW says:

    So we should jail the guy who did the right thing by is country and blew the whistle on an agency that was spying on its own people behind even congress's back, and treat him as bad as the guy who lied to congress and the entire countries face about it?

    …. Lets punish those who are honest and exposing such conspiracies just as bad as those that commit the actual crimes..

    This is why its so hard to find honest people these days. They teach the same thing in schools. Its preached that you should always be honest, and turn yourself/others in when you commit/witness a crime. But doing so will just land you in more trouble than if you buttoned your lips and let them off.

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