- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie lashed out at Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday for “siding with” NSA leaker Edward Snowden by opposing efforts to renew the Patriot Act.

“He’s a criminal,” Mr. Christie, a Patriot Act supporter and likely Republican presidential candidate, said of Mr. Snowden on Fox News. “He’s a criminal, and he’s hiding in Russia, and he’s lecturing to us about the evils of authoritarian government while he lives under the protective umbrella of Vladimir Putin?”

“That’s who Mike Lee and Rand Paul are siding with — with Edward Snowden?” he added. “Come on.”

The governor’s comments come as the Senate scrambles to reach a compromise on preserving sections of the Patriot Act that are scheduled to expire Sunday, The Hill reported.

“I agree with the folks in the intelligence community who have kept us safe for the last 14 years since 9/11,” Mr. Christie said. “And the fact is, all the different people expressing opinions on this in the Senate right now, none of them have used the Patriot Act; none of them have prosecuted terrorists — I have.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Paul stood by his opposition to the NSA’s bulk collection of phone data, saying his position is “about protecting us against systemic bias.”

During a brief speech at the Strand Book Store in New York City, the Kentucky senator linked Mr. Snowden to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CNN reported.

Snowden and Clapper should be in the same cell, talking about liberty and security,” he said.

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