U.S. Senator Rand Paul says he has sympathy for Edward Snowden, the man who leaked information on the National Security Agency's surveillance operations.
In Bowling Green this week, Paul was asked how history will judge Snowden, who's facing espionage charges. Sen. Paul said Snowden never lied to anyone, unlike National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who lied under oath to Congress.
“He says 'I lied in the name of national security.' On the other hand, Edward Snowden told the truth in defense of privacy, but broke his national security clearance. When you work in government you take a pledge not to reveal secrets, but you also take a pledge to the Constitution," explained Paul. "The question becomes 'Is it a type of accepted civil disobedience to break your security pledge in defense of the Constitution?'"
If it turns out he leaked secrets to foreign governments, Paul said Snowden would be judged harshly, but history would judge him kindly as a defender of privacy.
Senator Paul maintains the NSA's surveillance program is unconstitutional. He, so far, has gathered 250,000 signatures of Americans and plans to file a class action lawsuit that he hopes will go before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Paul has dismissed the notion that the NSA's collection of phone and Internet record is for counter-terrrorism efforts.