Ron Paul starts clemency petition for Snowden

Feb. 13, 2014 at 1:00 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul said he is starting a petition drive to provide clemency for fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

Paul, a Texas Republican known for his strong Libertarian leanings, said Snowden had done a service through his "courageous actions" and should not be prosecuted for spilling the details of the NSA's high-volume communications monitoring.

"Edward Snowden sacrificed his livelihood, citizenship, and freedom by exposing the disturbing scope of the NSA's worldwide spying program," Paul said Thursday on his Web site. "Thanks to one man's courageous actions, Americans know about the truly egregious ways their government is spying on them."

Snowden has been living in Moscow under a temporary asylum arrangement since releasing thousands of sensitive documents on the NSA monitoring program. The Obama administration and several members of Congress have called for his prosecution.

Snowden's supporters, however, consider him to be a whistle-blower who blew the lid off an eavesdropping program they see as unconstitutional.

Paul's son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has also been a critic of the NSA program; however The Hill said he has not supported overall clemency for Snowden, which would allow him to return to the United States without fear of prosecution.

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