At a Cato University event, Rand stated that there need to be some laws that protect certain secrets and that Manning put many lives at risk by releasing millions of pages “willy-nilly,” reports DL Magazine.
“There do have to be laws to protect some secrets. I think if you’ve got the, you know, the plans on how to make a nuclear bomb that is a state secret. If you give that to the enemy, that is being treasonous,” said Rand, “Even if you reveal it, you just have to have laws against that. What Manning did was just willy-nilly, just released millions of pages of things and I think some people have said there is potentially some harm from that. You know individual agents that could have been killed or put at risk from this. So there is a problem with that. So I just can’t support that.”
“If you are doing something for a political purpose; you know, in fact, in some ways the Snowden case is a little bit different,” said Paul, “But even with the Snowden case, I still think you have to have laws against what he did. So he did break the law.”
His continued his comments about Snowden in an even more muddled fashion, attempting to hide is views by saying what others might do and not showing any strong support for Snowden
“Snowden, if he were here, could maybe make the defense ‘Well I released this information because I’m a whistle blower. I’m telling you the head of the intelligence agency isn’t telling the truth. So I’m correcting a lie by another official.’ Some have said he would have had an easier time with that argument if he had come to a member of Congress and gone through the official whistleblower, kind of, pathway,” said Paul, “I think they still would have probably put him in jail and thrown away the key.”
DL reported on reaction from the libertarian community on Rand's comments.
The District of Columbia’s Libertarian Party Chairman, Ryan Sabot stated that Rand's “attempts to wipe away credibility, gravity, and value of both Snowden and Manning’s leaks by Senator Paul are distasteful.”
Jayel Aheram, blogger for Young Americans for Liberty, said that he was"disappointed that Sen. Rand Paul chose repeat the lie that Manning’s release and Wikileaks’ publication of the diplomatic cables harmed people. Brig. General Robert Carr, the man who was in charge of the Pentagon’s review of the leaks, admitted during Manning’s trial that no one was killed or harmed by the release of the cables."
Young Americans for Liberty NY State Chair, Taweh Beysolow II said:
It’s very obvious to me that Senator Paul would be against what Bradley Manning and Snowden did simply because he is a politician who has presidential aspirations within the Republican Party. The broad conservative movement does not have sympathy, nor feels empathy for either of these individuals because they feel as if they betrayed this country to some degree, despite how much it works against the Obama administration to their pleasure.Again, it serves more as a reminder that Senator Paul will most likely mimic a George Bush presidency rather than the ideal pie in the sky dream of a libertarian president in my opinion.