Ron Paul: Bring Edward Snowden Home

With Snowden’s asylum in Russia in limbo, the former House member is pushing for the clemency option.

Ron Paul speaks at George Washington University March 4, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
National Journal
Dustin Volz
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Dustin Volz
Aug. 4, 2014, 6:11 a.m.

Former Rep. Ron Paul is re­new­ing calls to grant Ed­ward Snowden clem­ency and al­low him to re­turn to the U.S., amid doubts about the fu­git­ive’s ex­pired asylum in Rus­sia.

Snowden’s “rev­el­a­tions have and con­tin­ue to open our minds to the truth and power of our gov­ern­ment. We are be­ing watched and re­cor­ded,” Paul wrote in a blog post. “In fear of un­just per­se­cu­tion, Mr. Snowden has spent ap­prox­im­ately one year pro­tec­ted by an asylum agree­ment gran­ted to him by the Rus­si­an gov­ern­ment.”

The Texas Re­pub­lic­an and many-times pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate launched a clem­ency pe­ti­tion for Snowden back in Feb­ru­ary that has now tal­lied more than 37,000 sig­na­tures. A sep­ar­ate pe­ti­tion on the White House’s web­site has garnered more than 160,000 sig­na­tures. Any White House pe­ti­tion that earns more than 100,000 sig­na­tures is typ­ic­ally met with an of­fi­cial re­sponse, but the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion had yet to de­liv­er one re­gard­ing Snowden.

Snowden’s tem­por­ary asylum ex­pired last week, but all in­dic­a­tions are that Rus­sia will al­low the former Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency con­tract­or to either re­new his asylum or to stay in­def­in­itely. His Rus­si­an law­yer said he an­ti­cip­ated a de­cision on a re­new­al ap­plic­a­tion soon, and he ex­pects that Rus­sia would al­low Snowden to stay at least un­til a rul­ing is made.

Still, the Krem­lin has re­mained quiet on the mat­ter. Am­nesty In­ter­na­tion­al said on Fri­day that Snowden should be al­lowed to travel freely and find refuge in a coun­try of his choos­ing, as the 31-year-old com­puter tech­ni­cian has re­peatedly said he did not wish to end up in Rus­sia.

Snowden was en route from Hong Kong to Cuba last sum­mer when he was ma­rooned at a Mo­scow air­port after the U.S. gov­ern­ment re­voked his pass­port. He was seek­ing safe har­bor after steal­ing and leak­ing in­tim­ate de­tails about the NSA’s bulk-sur­veil­lance pro­grams.

Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul, has also been an out­spoken crit­ic of NSA sur­veil­lance but has stopped short of say­ing that Snowden de­serves clem­ency, though he has pub­licly ad­voc­ated a light­er sen­tence than life in pris­on. The Ken­tucky Re­pub­lic­an and po­ten­tial 2016 pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate filed a class-ac­tion law­suit in Feb­ru­ary against Pres­id­ent Obama and the NSA on grounds the spy agency’s do­mest­ic phone-re­cords sur­veil­lance is un­con­sti­tu­tion­al.

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