Presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said Saturday that whistle blowers like Daniel Ellsberg and WikiLeaks were very important to the functioning of a free society.
About a third of the way into his speech at the National Federation of Republican Assemblies’ (NFRA) Iowa Straw Poll, he said that while the government claimed to support whistle blowers, they often did not protect them in practice.
“The net results of protecting whistle blowers doesn’t work out that well. It all depends on what they’re blowing the whistle on. If they don’t want that information out, they come down very hard on the whistle blower.”
Paul praised Republicans in Congress for their investigation of the now bankrupt solar panel firm Solyndra, which received a half billion-dollar loan from the U.S. Energy Department. He admitted that the investigation was politically-motivated, but still believed that Congress needed to “get to the bottom of it.”
“But the area that neither the Democrat nor the Republican leadership seems to welcome any whistle blowing is when there is an exposure on our foreign policy,” he continued. “The fallacies of why we go to war and what we do.”
He said that without Daniel Ellsberg, who released a set of classified documents known as the the Pentagon Papers, the public would have never discovered that he Vietnam War “was all rigged.”
“In the same way we get information from groups like WikiLeaks confirming the fact that we actually went into Iraq and there was no Al Qaeda, no weapons of mass destruction, it was all a gimmick to get us into a war that we didn’t need to be in,” Paul added.
“The best way to prevent this kind of dilemma for us getting the information after the fact, is we should have the information before the fact,” he said. “That is we should never go to war without a full examination and a declaration of war.”
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