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Ted Cruz: "​It is now clear that Snowden is a traitor, and he should be tried for treason.”

GOP presidential candidate had once praised Snowden for making surveillance abuses by government public.

You know that Ted Cruz is taking his presidential bid seriously when he starts flipping positions on national security and government surveillance.

Recall that he joined Rand Paul's 13-hour filibuster of John Brennan's nomination to be head of the CIA back in 2013. That took place three months before Edward Snowden's revelations about massive NSA surveillance of Americans. Cruz had this to say about Edward Snowden back then:

“If it is the case that the federal government is seizing millions of personal records about law-abiding citizens, and if it is the case that there are minimal restrictions on accessing or reviewing those records, then I think Mr. Snowden has done a considerable public service by bringing it to light,” Mr. Cruz said at an event hosted by TheBlaze, according to the website​​.

More recently, Marco Rubio, who also participated in Paul's filibuster, has been hammering Cruz for any and all positions that place civil liberties ahead of what Rubio deems to be national security. Recent comments by the Florida senator on ABC's This Week:

“I never believed Edward Snowden was a good public servant the way that Ted Cruz once said, that he had done a public service for America..."

“We cannot afford to have a commander in chief who thinks people like Edward Snowden are doing a good public service."

When asked by The New York Times to respond, Cruz

took a very different tone, saying​,​ "​It is now clear that Snowden is a traitor, and he should be tried for treason.”

He pointed to his remark in 2013 that Mr. Snowden should be prosecuted if he broke any laws. "Today, we know that Snowden violated federal law, that his actions materially aided terrorists and enemies of the United States, and that he subsequently fled to China and Russia," he said. "Under the Constitution, giving aid to our enemies is treason."

Read the whole thing here.

We can file this under intra-party feuding and jockeying for position as the primary season really begins in earnest. Yet it points to one more way in which Ted Cruz is quick to distance himself from libertarian-leaning positions when push comes to shove and to verge into standard-issue hawk positions (recall also that Hillary Clinton has been unwavering in her attacks on Snowden).

Certainly the most important thing about the Snowden revelations are the revelations themselves and what they say about the willingness of the government under both Republicans and Democrats to either ignore or bend the law whenever they consider it expedient.

Apart from Rand Paul, Cruz was about the only GOP candidate who spoke out against government abuse of civil liberties in the name of the war on terror. This latest contretemps suggests that one more voice for limited government may have gone missing.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    God bless him, he's going to set himself apart from the pack by echoing their rhetoric.

  • ||

    *reads and re-reads comment*

    Perfect.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Cruz needs an intro course to the constitution. Even if you're the kind of authoritarian cretin who wants to punish the greatest whistle-blower this country has ever had, the constitution has a very specific definition of treason. Snowden has not made war against these United States.

    -jcr

  • Jerryskids||

    I think Cruz just declared war on both China and Russia. But then, we've always been at war with Eastasia, haven't we?

  • Agammamon||

    No, but there's a strain of person, unfortunately the dominant strain, that will use any excuse - *any excuse* - to beat their breasts while shouting to the world about how more loyal than though they are to the group.

    Its how you get fundamentalists stoning their children and stabbing their neighbors to death over something posted on the internet. Its how you get the Alien and Sedition Acts. The loss of Habeus Corpus and other rights 'during wartime emergencies'.

  • d3x / dt3||

    And we are fighting the worstest enemy ever!!!1!11!

    (Well, second worst)

  • Cytotoxic||

    Nick is down to re-writing columns from better colleagues?

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    He's like a smarter, GOP version of Obama with even more dishonest smug.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That's grossly unfair.

  • chemjeff||

    I did not realize that Reason.com was the headquarters from the Ed Snowden Fan Club.

    Yes I think that he did the country a service by revealing the NSA spying program.

    But he ALSO did the country a very big disservice by revealing a lot of other stuff. Such as, tactics and methods used by the government to spy on *other* countries. That have nothing to do with domestic spying.

    If he had only been a whistleblower for domestic spying, I don't think he would be treated as the pariah that he is being treated as by most people. In fact I think a lot of places, particularly the left-wing media, would be praising him as a hero much as Reason seems to do.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I did not realize that Reason.com was the headquarters from the Ed Snowden Fan Club


    Then you should have lurked moar, scrub.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    It's either Tulpa or some moron who has Tulpa's exact same mental disorder. I suggest not engaging.

  • Jerryskids||

    But he ALSO did the country a very big disservice by revealing a lot of other stuff. Such as, tactics and methods used by the government to spy on *other* countries.

    And you know this how? Because the same government agency that's been lying out its ass about how little it thinks of the US, the Constitution, the American public, the laws, Congress, principles, morals, truth, justice and the American way of life, plus basic human decency told you so? I'd take anything they say with just a wee grain of salt.

  • chemjeff||

    Actually, it is from Wikipedia. Most of those references are from the media outlets that Snowden collaborated with.

  • d3x / dt3||

    Well, trial by Wikipedia. It's settled, then!

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    I want reasonable to add a "Tulpa herp derp" extension. It finds Tulpa sockpuppets and replaces the text of those posts with "herp derp herp derp herp derp". It would actually be more intelligent than your normal comments, Tulpa.

  • chemjeff||

    If you have an issue with Tulpa then maybe you should take it up with him/her.

    I'm sure getting the impression that the crowd around here are little more than Snowden apologists.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    And I'm getting the feeling that you really do love state cock in your mouth, Tulpa.

  • chemjeff||

    What is with this rude behavior? I have been nothing but civil with you.

    I'm not defending the NSA. It is wrong that they were spying on Americans.

    I'm actually praising Snowden for revealing the existence of their domestic spying.

    I'm just not willing to canonize the man or hold him above the law or let him get away with laws that he's broken.

  • Agammamon||

    But you do seem perfectly fine with letting the *other* people - the ones that orchestrated a massive breach of trust and suborned *several* government agencies in the pursuit of their own agendas - get away with the laws that they've broken.

    And I don't understand this fixation on 'law'.

    Or do you say that Dread Scott was decided correctly? That George Washington should have been hung? That because the legislature says it is so then it *is* so?

  • chemjeff||

    "But you do seem perfectly fine with letting the *other* people - the ones that orchestrated a massive breach of trust and suborned *several* government agencies in the pursuit of their own agendas - get away with the laws that they've broken."

    I didn't say that either. Whomever in the NSA broke the law, they should suffer the consequences as well. I'm perfectly consistent on that.

    "And I don't understand this fixation on 'law'.

    Or do you say that Dread Scott was decided correctly? That George Washington should have been hung? That because the legislature says it is so then it *is* so?"

    In my view, *if* we have a just government that derives its consent from the governed, and *if* that government passes laws that are just, i.e., based on liberty-affirming and liberty-preserving principles, *then* all who fall under the jurisdiction of that government should be subject to the same law equally. That is the principle of the rule of law. It is only then that we can have a chance at having a semblance of ordered liberty, because the alternatives are far worse: either some form of mob rule or some form of despotism.

    So if you agree that the law against theft is a just law, then at a minimum, Snowden appears guilty of that. Did he commit the crime of theft in the service of a higher principle? I would say, in part, yes. But his good motivations does not absolve him of his illegal act, they don't cancel out.

  • ||

    That is the principle of the rule of law.

    The Myth of the Rule of Law

  • d3x / dt3||

    No one - repeat - no one at the NSA has been punished for improperly spying on US citizens. It would appear that the entire leadership of the NSA is responsible for this. There is no way for a whistleblower in the defense/intelligence community to get this information out without breaking the law.

    Then the goalposts suddenly move. The current set of dumbasses talk about trying him for treason, but you then go on about how we need to have laws and how Snowden should be found guilty of theft.

    Because Somalia.

    Does that about sum it up?

  • Agammamon||

    So why all this about Snowden needing to be tried? As you say - the people at the NSA should be tried (and won't be) so why focus on Snowden? He's the *least guilty* party in this situation yet *he's* the one everyone wants to hang.

    What's he really guilty of? Theft? While the people you handwave away with 'they should be prosecuted to' are guilty of suborning the machinery of government.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    ^This a million times. Why the fetishistic focus on the one who exposed the wrongdoing, rather than the actual wrongdoers themselves?

  • Agammamon||

    But he ALSO did the country a very big disservice by revealing a lot of other stuff. Such as, tactics and methods used by the government to spy on *other* countries. That have nothing to do with domestic spying.

    Well, *maybe*, the government that considers foreign spying so damn important (even though its been about as effective as all our 'domestic' programs at preventing 'terrorists' from acting) should have stepped back and said 'you know, it'd really suck if our techniques were exposed by someone on the inside - let's reduce our threat surface by maybe *not* engaging in illegal domestic data gathering so we don't trigger and episodes of conscience in our employees'.

    MICE

    Money
    Ideology
    Conscience
    Ego

    But no, Snowden should have 'gone through channels', right?

  • d3x / dt3||

    Just like Thomas Drake went through proper channels. Things turned out so well for him.

    I'm guessing the treatment of Drake was an important lesson for Snowden.

  • Sevo||

    chemjeff|1.14.16 @ 9:45PM|#
    "...If he had only been a whistleblower for domestic spying, I don't think he would be treated as the pariah that he is being treated as by most people."

    "Most people"? You claim to speak for "most people"? How, uh, imbecilic of you.

  • d3x / dt3||

    Maybe more like, "most self-serving, bloviating politicians and their enablers."

    Yes, that's more accurate.

    But hey, we're just a bunch of Snowden apologists. We probably believe in the Constitution too!

  • Agammamon||

    Plus, Snowden *showed* that there's no such divide betweem 'domestic' and 'foreign' spying - the whole *point* of his revelations is that in the pursuit of power these people deliberately and completely destroyed the line between them.

  • d3x / dt3||

    And the mainstream press, our self-appointed guardians of freedom, has become a propaganda wing of the government.

    At least when I see a North Korean broadcaster exuberantly praise the leaders, I know that it's being done under threat of imprisonment/death. Here it's just a desire to be invited to the next cocktail party.

  • Inigo Montoya, Micro-Aggressor||

    I didn't like him much to begin with, hough I saw him as a step up from Trump or Jabba the Hutt, er I mean Christie. But now, Cruz is dead to me.

    Just what gutter did the GOP dredge to come up with this crop of candidates, anyway? After nearly 16 years of endless wars, disappearing liberties, and a languishing economy, they should be able to run a discredited former dog-catcher with a drinking problem and still win just because the public is sick of the status quo. Instead, they seem to want to lose even to the likes of Hillary or a geriatric who repeatedly failed Econ 101. Sheesh!

  • Cytotoxic||

    "Cruz is dead to me."

    That's silly.

  • d3x / dt3||

    That's about the third time you've posted something like that with no argument and no evidence.

    When you get to high school, you will learn more about debate techniques.

  • Agammamon||

    Canadians don't have High School.

    Its 8 years of compulsory public education and then off to a lifetime in the ice or syrup-mines working alongside their fathers.

  • d3x / dt3||

    This explains so much about Cytotoxic!

  • josh||

    my feeling on snowden is that he gave up more info than just the warrantless searches, etc. if i'm wrong, please correct me, but if that's true, i wouldn't label him a hero, but nowhere near a traitor either. he's in that grey area where he may have broke the law, but that's mostly because the law is inadequate to protect someone who otherwise has something important that we need to hear. i'm not sure you send someone like that to jail. maybe some kind of probation and have him sit on a panel with other whistleblowers and fix the law so we don't have to have this debate again.

  • d3x / dt3||

    It would be nice if there were some mechanism whereby employees in the intelligence community could report flagrant abuses of the law without being destroyed.

    Absent that, it would appear the next best thing is to turn over your info and head to Hong Kong.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    He did more than just the blow the whistle on domestic spying, as others have pointed out.

    Ted Cruz proposed that Mr. Snowden should be brought before a U.S. district court for treason, where the defendant, as an American citizen, will be able to contest the testimony and evidence against him, present testimony and evidence in his defense, and face a death sentence if convicted.

    Contrast this with Barack Obama, who wants to strip the Second Amendment rights of people accused of terrorism, without even the benefit of an Ex Parte Quirin style military tribunal.

  • d3x / dt3||

    Except that he does not meet the definition of being charged with treason in the first place, as others have pointed out.

    Unless, of course, the "enemy" is actually the American public.

    And on the subject of laws, when are they going to get around to charging James Clapper with perjury? That's pretty serious too, right?

  • Agammamon||

    When Clapper is in the dock *then* I *might* entertain the idea that Snowden needs to come back to make his case in (public) court.

  • Azathoth!!||

    I think I'd like some clarification on this.

    If Cruz is saying that Snowden went too far--that outing legitimate actions as well as illegitimate actions put him, personally, beyond the pale, but that heads still need to roll at the NSA, I'd be okay with this.

    If his has simply abandoned his 'stand with Rand' in favor of standing with the Obama administration and the delusional republicans who have decided that this is the proper course, then we have a problem.

    But it is not clear, from his statement, the extent of his meaning.

  • GamerFromJump||

    Cruz can officially go fuck himself. For reasons not the least of which include conflating China and Hong Kong. HKers don't deserve that for getting fucked over by the British.

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