Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he's "reserving judgment" on Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked information regarding some of the agency's telephone and Internet-tracking programs.
"I think it's a complicated issue," Paul said on "CBS This Morning." "I think when people choose civil disobedience, they're at their wit's end and think there's no other choice. We've had civil disobedience in our history, sometimes they turn out that we laud them and other times we say they went too far. I personally am trying to work within the law and change the law, I think that's what my job is and I think we can challenge the president on this, particularly his hypocrisy. I'm reserving judgment on Mr. Snowden, but I think he felt like something like this was so wrong -- millions of phone records being looked at."
"You have to realize," Paul added later, "by looking at your phone records, they can actually track your movements all day long. So I've been jokingly saying I'm leaving my phone at home when I go to Republican leadership meetings, because the president doesn't need to know where I am all day long."
The senator's comments on Snowden differ from those of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), who said Monday that “We should be thankful" for Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald, who first reported details of the NSA program in the Guardian.
Father Paul, the former presidential candidate, and son Rand, the senator, who is pondering a 2016 presidential campaign, often part ways on issues of national security and foreign policy -- but they appear to agree that the U.S. government has gone too far.
Asked whether he had attended any of the dozens of briefings offered for lawmakers in recent years about NSA programs, Paul said that most of the briefings were for members of the House and Senate intelligence committees.
"Just because Congress approved it doesn't make it right," Paul said of the NSA programs. "Congress has a 10 percent approval rating, so I think we're often doing things that the public doesn't approve of."
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