Rand Paul Demands the Repeal of Espionage Act 

On August 13, 2022, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul called for the repeal of the Espionage Act. He argued that it has been repeatedly abused since it was enacted over a century ago. 

Paul tweeted, “The espionage act was abused from the beginning to jail dissenters of WWI. It is long past time to repeal this egregious affront to the 1st Amendment.” 

Paul’s remarks came against the backdrop of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s raid on former President Trump’s residence in Mar-a-Lago. DC authorities justified the raid on the grounds that Trump possessed material that was allegedly classified and top secret. 

Trump accused federal authorities of “playing politics and breaking into” his home. According to Steve Watson of Summit News, Trump asserted that all of the material had been declassified and “They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK.”

Per a report by Politico last week, the FBI is conducting an investigation on Trump for potential violations of the Espionage Act, which includes “the refusal to return national security documents upon request.”

The report highlighted that “Conviction under the statutes can result in imprisonment or fines.” 

Then-President Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act into law on June 15, 1917. Originally, the law was designed to prohibit interference with military operations or recruitment, halt insubordination within the military, and crack down on any individuals who could potentially be assisting the US’s enemies throughout World World War I. The Espionage Act was enacted two months after the US entered World War I. 

One of the Espionage Act’s most prominent victims was five-time presidential candidate and trade union activist Eugene V. Debs. He was imprisoned under the Espionage Act for criticizing the war effort and calling on military-age men to resist the draft. In that time, Wilson described Debs as “a traitor to his country.” 

Even in the present, the Deep State is using the Espionage Act to secure a criminal indictment of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, for his massive release of evidence exposing the national security establishment’s dirty laundry in the reckless wars it prosecuted in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A repeal of this heinous violation of civil liberties in long overdue. 

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