WASHINGTON — Julian Assange is a “big admirer” of both Ron and Rand Paul, the Wikileaks founder said during a recent interview–while calling some of the younger Paul’s views “sometimes simplistic.”
The Wikileaks founder praised America’s top libertarians — former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008 and 2012, and his son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., viewed as a possible Republican White House contender in 2016 and perhaps the Congress’s most vocal and widely recognized libertarian — during a video Q & A, questioned by the editor of conservative campus-news and watchdog group Campus Reform.
“I am a big admirer of Ron Paul and Rand Paul, for their very principled positions in the U.S. Congress on a number of issues,” Assange said, asked about the Pauls by Campus Reform Editor-in-Chief Josian Ryan.
In 2010, Ron Paul defended Wikileaks, after Assange’s group released thousands of pages of internal communiques from the State Department.
“The hysterical reaction makes one wonder if this is not an example of killing the messenger,” Paul said on the House floor, asserting the document dump caused “no known harm to any individual.”
At the time, the U.S. government aggressively claimed that Wikileaks had endangered U.S. foreign-policy interests. Pfc. Bradley Manning, later revealed as the leaker, was acquitted on July 30 of aiding U.S. enemies but was found guilty of other charges.
Sen. Rand Paul, like his father, has criticized U.S. surveillance practices and government secrecy. He recently called National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, whom Wikileaks has advised in his avoidance of U.S. authorities, a “civil disobedient” in an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, while the Obama administration has labeled Snowden’s leaks a national security risk.
Assange called the Pauls “the strongest supporters of the fight against the U.S. attack on WikiLeaks and on me,” praising the libertarian wing of the Republican Party as “the only hope for electoral politics” and “the only useful political voice really in the U.S. Congress.”
U.S. politics are dominated by an “extreme center,” Assange said, made up of Democrats and defense-industry-backed Republicans, “pushing forward very fast in a dangerous direction that compromises the future of U.S. democracy.”
But speaking to the college-oriented group, Assange said some of Rand Paul’s views are so principled they end up as “simplistic.”
“I think some of these positions that are held by Rand Paul — I can see how they come from the same underlying Libertarian principle,” Assange said. “I think the world is often more complex, and by taking a no-doubt principled but sometimes simplistic position, you end up undermining the principle.”
Assange cited the Pauls’ positions on foreign wars, military drafts, taxes, and abortion.