Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch interviews Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and asks if Paul became president how he might handle a hypothetical request from Edward Snowden to return to the United States,
REASON: If on the day after inauguration, you get a phone call and it’s Edward Snowden saying, “Alright, I’m ready to come back,” what are you going to do?
RAND PAUL: You know, I think justice is about making punishment proportional to the crime. And I think his intentions were to reveal something that he felt like the people in government were lying about. And it turns out they were lying.
The director of national intelligence committed perjury in front of the Senate committee. My understanding is it’s about a five-year sentence, but instead of getting any kind of sentence, instead of getting a slap on the wrist, or instead of even being fired, he’s been rewarded, and he’s still in charge of intelligence. And I think he’s done a great deal to damage trust.
On the other side of the coin, can you let people who have sensitive data just make the decision to reveal it to the world? I think you have to have laws against that. So I think there have to be laws against what Snowden did. Did he do it for a higher purpose? Does he have a high moral ground? All of that I think history will judge. But I’ve sort of tongue-in-cheek said that if I had the choice, I’d put Clapper and Snowden in the same jail cell for about the same period of time. That’s not a serious question, but I think it’d be an interesting debate they might have about liberty versus security.