Julian Assange: I’m a big admirer of Rand Paul
posted at 7:21 pm on August 16, 2013 by Allahpundit
Via Campus Reform, coming soon to a Chris Christie campaign commercial near you.
His remarks on the Pauls and on libertarianism are in separate parts so watch all the way through or you’ll miss the latter. Two interesting aspects to this. One: I wonder if U.S. opinion on Assange will soften now that Snowden, his ally, has pushed domestic surveillance onto the public’s radar screen. This is not an endorsement that Paul wants, especially now that Bradley Manning’s going to do hard time for leaking to Wikileaks, but it might not be quite as toxic as it was six months ago.
Two: I wonder who’d bludgeon Paul more eagerly with this, hawkish Republicans or Hillary as Democratic nominee. Hillary has a strong incentive, unwittingly revealed by Kathleen Parker in her goofy column on Clinton as world savior, to make her opponents look weaker than her on foreign policy and counterterrorism. If not for Snowden, she’d undoubtedly go hardcore hawk on Paul as a guy more worried about terrorists’ rights than about, say, sending troops into Pakistan to liquidate Bin Laden. Post-Snowden, though, she can’t get away with that; she’ll have to get to Obama’s left, at least a little, on civil liberties in the age of surveillance in order to quash any primary-minded unrest among liberals. That’s why the topic of her next big speech is what it is. She’ll still use the Assange endorsement against Paul in a general election but not nearly as ruthlessly as she would have if not for the NSA clusterfark.
Exit question: Has Senator Paul ever given us a straight answer on what President Paul would do if Assange or Snowden lifted sensitive intelligence from the NSA’s servers on his watch? We all know how he’d spin it — “if we had more government transparency like I’ve been pushing for, this wouldn’t have happened” — but that doesn’t answer the question of whether he’d pursue and prosecute either man. Would he? I’ll bet Chris Christie and Hillary are wondering too.