Former presidential candidate and U.S. Congressman Ron Paul defended whistleblowers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden during an interview with Larry King on Thursday.
Manning was recently sentenced to 35 years in jail, which he is beginning to serve this week in Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas. Snowden remains wanted by the United States but free in Russia.
"I think highly of them," Paul said, noted RT.com. "I think of them like Daniel Ellsberg, who they tried to put away for a long time and they tried The New York Times for releasing the truth of how the Vietnam War started and how we were lied into that war.”
He added: “The people now telling us the truth about what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan should be seen more as heroes. A guy like Snowden knows exactly what he was up to and he knows the danger of it. I sincerely believe, although I’ve never met him, that he believed he was doing a service to the people by doing this. We shouldn’t be calling people like this traitors.”
Paul also defended Julian Assange's website WikiLeaks, which "worked very hard to make sure no one has been hurt, and there’s no evidence anyone has, but if our government is doing something wrong and they’re hiding it from us I think there is a moral obligation of those who know it and can reveal that to us to let us know."
Paul said that both parties support the National Security Agency spying on the American people.
"Leadership on both sides were very much in favor of spying," he said. "Yet there was a large number of people responding to Republicans and Democrats in opposition to this."