WASHINGTON -- Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) warned Tuesday that the U.S. government may use a drone missile to kill Edward Snowden, who recently leaked classified information on National Security Administration surveillance programs.
"I'm worried about somebody in our government might kill him with a cruise missile or a drone missile," Paul said during an interview on Fox Business 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 gentleman is trying to tell the truth about what's going on."
Snowden, a former NSA contractor, fled to Hong Kong before disclosing over the weekend that he was behind the leaks of information on NSA's sweeping monitoring of phone calls and Internet data. His actions have reignited a debate on Capitol Hill around security and civil liberties, and revived bipartisan legislation aimed at declassifying court opinions used to justify mass surveillance.
Paul, an ardent libertarian whose son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), waged an hours-long Senate filibuster in March in protest of the administration's drone policy, lamented that Americans are in an age "where people who tell the truth about what the government is doing" get in trouble.
"I don't think for a minute that he is a traitor," Ron Paul said of Snowden. "Everybody is worried about him and what they're going to do and how they're going to convict him of treason and how they're going to kill him. But what about the people who destroy our Constitution? ... What do we think about people who assassinate American citizens without trials and assume that's the law of the land? That's where our problem is."
Paul has a fan in Snowden: Campaign finance reports show that Snowden donated $250 to Paul's presidential campaign twice in 2012.