“Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”
June 11, 2013
Former Congressman Ron Paul offered up a heaping portion of Constitutional liberty on CNN’s Piers Morgan Live yesterday when he addressed the recent NSA spy grid scandal, which has linked several high tech giants, including Facebook, Microsoft and Skype, to a secret program in which the government agency was allowed access to those companies’ servers.
Asked if he considered NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden a hero, Paul answered, “Well… he’s done a great service because he’s telling the truth and this is what we are starved for. The American people are starved for the truth.”
Snowden’s actions, first reported by the UK’s Guardian newspaper and next the Washington Post, have come under fierce scrutiny by members on both sides of the political divide, leading several politicians to label him a “traitor” and his leak of government secrets “treasonous.”
According to Paul, these are the tell-tale signs of a dictatorial government: “And when you have a dictatorship or an authoritarian government, truth becomes treasonous. And this is what they do if you are a whistleblower, or if you are trying to tell the American people that our country is destroying our rule of law and destroying our Constitution, they turn it around and say, ‘You’re committing treason…’”
The former Texas rep and three-time presidential candidate also spoke of the NSA’s scandal in terms of violating the Fourth Amendment, saying, “So essentially there is no Fourth Amendment anymore, and for somebody to tell the American people the truth is a heroic effort, and [Snowden] knows that it’s very risky. He knows he’s committing civil disobedience and he knows that he could get punished, but he believes… that what our government is doing to us is so serious that somebody has to speak out.”
Eliciting snickers from Morgan, Paul also joked that President Obama should actually thank Snowden for forcing him to fulfill a campaign promise, stating “Matter of fact, I think the president ought to send him a thank you letter, because the president ran on transparency and we’re getting a lot of transparency now. So finally we’re getting the president to fulfill his promise about transparency, so that’s pretty exciting for me.”
Meanwhile, Morgan’s in-studio guest, Robert James Woolsey, Jr., a former CIA boss, found it difficult to answer whether what the NSA is doing violates the Fourth Amendment.
Morgan: I just don’t see how you can say what is going on here in complete secrecy from 99 percent of the people it is being done to lives up to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It is palpably a breach isn’t it?
Woolsey: Well, it depends on whether or not you want to preserve the country’s ability to operate in a world of terrorism in which a lot of terrorists are very technically sophisticated. If you want to defend the country you’re going to have to defend it.
Morgan: Right, I understand that…but that wasn’t the question.
Woolsey: It is the question. It is the question. That balance between security and liberty is the question.
Congressman Paul later retorted, “What he’s doing is repealing the Magna Carta. You can’t just do these kind of things. And this one is not only repealing the principles of liberty, but it’s destroying the Constitution.”
Continuing, Paul questioned what should be done with Constitutional traitors. “So my question should be to all of you who defend this nonsense is, ‘What should the penalty be for the people who destroy the constitution?’ They’re always worried about how they’re going to destroy the American citizens who tell the truth to let us know what’s going on, but we ask the question, ‘What is the penalty for the people who deliberately destroy the Constitution and rationalize and say, “Well, we have to do it for security”?’ Well, you know what Franklin said about that,” recalling Founding Father Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, paraphrased, “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”
Woolsey is an establishment fixture often trotted out to disseminate the fabled threat of terrorism, and is the same person who warned in Feb. 2012 that the Statue of Liberty would be a target for Iranian terrorists hellbent on retaliating against the U.S. for shutting down their nuclear program.
When confronted by We Are Change’s Luke Rudkowski in March 2011, Woolsey denied former CIA director William Colby’s charge that the CIA owns “everyone of any significance in the major media.” He is also blamed for a gag order placed on 9/11 first responders forbidding them to speak about inside knowledge of the events of that day.