Rand Paul on Bradley Manning Verdict: “I don’t have a lot of sympathy”

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Sen. Rand Paul raised some eyebrows when he stated that he does not have a lot of sympathy in regards to whistle-blower Bradley Manning’s verdict and a several surprising statements concerning NSA leaker Edward Snowden at a Cato University event.

Manning faces a maximum jail sentence of 136 years with multiple convictions of Espionage Act violations, but was declared “not guilty” for aiding the enemy.

Sen. Paul reasoned that there need to be some laws that protect certain secrets and that Manning put many lives at risk by releasing millions of pages “willy-nilly”. His main concern is that whistle-blowers break laws in order to reveal state secrets.

“There do have to be laws to protect some secrets. I think if you’ve got the, you know, the plans on how to make a nuclear bomb that is a state secret. If you give that to the enemy, that is being treasonous,” said the Senator from Kentucky, “Even if you reveal it, you just have to have laws against that. What Manning did was just willy-nilly, just released millions of pages of things and I think some people have said there is potentially some harm from that. You know individual agents that could have been killed or put at risk from this. So there is a problem with that. So I just can’t support that.”

Paul made an effort to bring a distinction between the NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning who were both charged with leaking diplomatic documents, but asserted that there needs to be justice when whistle-blowers break the law.

“If you are doing something for a political purpose; you know, in fact, in some ways the Snowden case is a little bit different,” said Paul, “But even with the Snowden case, I still think you have to have laws against what he did. So he did break the law.”

He makes the case that Snowden could have a defense of making officials accountable for their own actions, but the Senator would still have Snowden incarcerated for breaking the law.

“Snowden, if he were here, could maybe make the defense ‘Well I released this information because I’m a whistle blower. I’m telling you the head of the intelligence agency isn’t telling the truth. So I’m correcting a lie by another official.’ Some have said he would have had an easier time with that argument if he had come to a member of Congress and gone through the official whistleblower, kind of, pathway,” said Paul, “I think they still would have probably put him in jail and thrown away the key.”

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Sarah Harvard
Sarah can be found daydreaming about being the hybrid of Fareed Zakaria and Anthony Bourdain. She has won several awards in journalism including the Critic's Choice Award in Critical Essay and the Enterprise's Journalist of the Year award. She has interviewed prominent figures like Noam Chomsky, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Reza Aslan and Icona Pop. She has an array of interest in US-Middle East Relations, national security, culture in America and post-punk revival bands.

26 Comments

  1. John Knetemann

    John Knetemann

    August 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    A conservative comment from a conservative politician.

    • andrew

      August 19, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Right? What a tool!

    • Marcus

      August 20, 2013 at 4:49 am

      Hey man stop being so black and white, I’m rather conservative and this disgusts me.

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  3. rwing

    August 19, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    There are too many congressmen who are condemning Snowden and supporting the NSA. They are either being blackmailed, paid off, or threatened. JMO

  4. Matt

    August 20, 2013 at 8:15 am

    I have a new nickname for Rand. Henceforce, he shall be known only as “Robert the Bruce.”

  5. Meritocrat

    August 20, 2013 at 10:00 am

    It’s going to be very difficult for principled libertarians to support Rand Paul. But I still think that it’s a good idea because having a frontrunner in the race for president who aligns himself with libertarians and has a good number of libertarian position stands to shift the entire landscape. This means more consitutional republicans, more strict libertarians and more voluntaryists. I’m confident it will help the movement as a whole. It’s hard to support pragmatists like Rand, but they are good for the cause. When Ron stops associating with Rand, then I’ll abandon him. He’s absolutely wrong about Manning and I think that he knows it. He’s doing what he has to do get on the inside. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkeXvjyKP14

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  8. Bryant

    August 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    And this is why Gary Johnson 2016

  9. Rick Stanley

    August 20, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Exactly what is a “principled Libertarian”??? Eye of the beholder… “It is going to be difficult for principled libertarians to support Rand Paul”? Such a croc!

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  12. Nancy

    August 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    We need to vote all the old polititions out and put some young blood in there !!One’s that will stand for our country and do what they are supposed to do, after all they do work for us, the True Americans !! They get all the big pay and good insurance, all we get is Obamacare and minimun wage, what’s wrong with this picture ?!!? We need to stand together as a country and make change ourselves. Oh yes we can, if we stick together !!

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  14. Turd Ferguson

    August 21, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Rand is a sheep in wolf’s clothing. He only has this opinion to appeal to the rest of those clowns. Give him a chance.

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