Former Republican Representative Ron Paul revealed in an interview this morning that he is concerned about the possibility of the U.S. using military force to kill NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
“I’m worried about somebody in our government might kill him with a cruise missile or a drone missile,” Paul said in a phone interview with Fox News.
“I mean we live in a bad time where American citizens don’t even have rights and that they can be killed, but the gentlemen is trying to tell the truth about what’s going on. It’s a shame that we are in an age where people who tell the truth about what the government is doing gets into trouble…No, I don’t think for a minute that he’s a traitor,” he added.
Ron Paul has not been shy about outwardly condemning the Obama administration’s efforts to collect personal information of millions of innocent Americans by going through their phone records and internet activity.
“The Fourth Amendment is clear; 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,” he wrote on the website for Campaign for Liberty, a political organization Paul founded.
“The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing.”
Snowden, who is believed to have left his Hong Kong hotel, has not been charged by the U.S. government nor is he the target of an official U.S. request for extradition.
Kevin Egan, a lawyer who has dealt with many extradition cases before, said that Snowden’s best option would be to leave China as soon as possible.
“If I was him, I’d be getting out of here and heading to a sympathetic jurisdiction as fast as possible and certainly before the United States issues a request for his extradition,” said Egan.
“The attitude of the judiciary here seems to be if Uncle Sam wants you, Uncle Sam will get you.”
The Chinese government is yet to give an official comment on this case, while the Hong Kong government said it will act in accordance with the law.
Even though Hong Kong does have its own government with its own rules towards fugitives and extradition, the Chinese government does have the power to veto any ruling from a local court.
The U.S. Department of Justice is in the initial stages of a criminal investigation on Snowden.
Hong Kong law states that unless Snowden is charged with what the Hong Kong government deems a criminal act, U.S. authorities cannot arrest him or take him to court.
Snowden will most likely face charges under the Espionage Act of 1917, which does have general terms similar to those Hong Kong’s Official Secrets Ordinance.
Snowden could potentially challenge all of these charges or rulings in Hong Kong court in a trial that may very well last for years on end.
Photo via The Guardian, via CNN