In a video published last week, Ron Paul announced his sponsorship of a petition to bring Edward Snowden home. The website of the former congressman and libertarian icon states:
Edward Snowden shocked the world when he exposed the NSA’s illegal and abusive spying program. Instead of applauding him for his bravery and patriotism, the U.S. government labels Snowden a traitor.
Join Ron Paul in demanding that Edward Snowden IS granted clemency. Sign the Petition. Let’s bring Edward home before his amnesty in Russia expires on July 31, 2014.
In June 2013, the Obama administration charged Snowden with espionage.
According to the criminal complaint filed by the federal government against Snowden in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the former NSA networking subcontractor will be charged with theft, “unauthorized communication of national defense information,” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.”
The last two counts are violations of the Espionage Act of 1917.
The Washington Post story on the filing of the espionage charges against Snowden reports that the district court was chosen by the Justice Department because Snowden’s former employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, is headquartered within that jurisdiction and it is “a district with a long track record of prosecuting cases with national security implications.”
With the formal filing of the charges against him, Snowden becomes the eighth person to be charged under the Espionage Act by the Obama administration.
In recent days, however, a statement by Attorney General Eric Holder seemed to soften the Obama administration’s hardline.
“If Mr. Snowden wanted to come back to the United States and enter a plea, we would engage with his lawyers. We’d do that with any defendant who wanted to enter a plea of guilty,” Holder said in January during a speech at the University of Virginia.
“We’ve always indicated ... that the notion of clemency was not something we were willing to consider,” Holder added.
There’s the rub, apparently, as far as Ron Paul is concerned. Paul seems to sense that once Snowden sets foot in the United States, all bets will be off. He thinks Snowden deserves better than that.
In the video announcing the petition, Paul says,
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Photo of Ron Paul: AP Images