Ron Paul: Edward Snowden a Hero

Libertarian lion praises the leaker who exposed NSA snooping.

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Ron Paul, a lion of the libertarian movement, is roaring again. He is praising Edward Snowden, the admitted leaker of information about a vast U.S. government surveillance program that is generating headlines around the world.

"We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and [investigative reporter] Glenn Greenwald, who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk," Paul said in remarks posted on campaignforliberty.org, the website of an advocacy group that Paul leads.

[READ: What's a Scandal and What Is Not]

"They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret."

Others express a harshly negative view of Snowden, the central figure in the ongoing leaks case who has been condemned for jeopardizing national security.

Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) speaks at George Washington University March 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Brendan Smialowksi/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Rep. Ron Paul, (R-Texas), speaks at George Washington University March 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Brendan Smialowksi/AFP/Getty Images)
 

But Paul said, "The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing."

"The Fourth Amendment is clear," added Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas. "We should be secure in our persons, houses, papers, 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."

Paul inspired an intensely loyal following as a Republican presidential candidate in 2012 because of his libertarian views that emphasized curbing the power of the federal government. Paul has retired from Congress but says he will remain active in commenting on major issues.

[READ: Report: NSA Contract Worker Is Surveillance Source]

His son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also takes a libertarian approach and is preparing a class-action lawsuit to halt what he says are unconstitutional invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency. Rand Paul is considered a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2016.

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  • Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and followed on Facebook and Twitter.