Edward Snowden : Hero or Traitor?

The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency....

The seal of the U.S. National Security Agency. The first use was in September 1966, replacing an older seal which was used briefly. For more information, see here and here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are the facts of Edward Snowden’s short life according to Wikipedia….

Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983)[1] is a former technical contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee who leaked details of top-secret American and British government mass surveillance programs to the press.[3][4]

Working primarily with Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian (London), which published a series of exposés based on Snowden’s disclosures in June 2013, Snowden revealed information about a variety of classified intelligence programs, including the interception of US and European telephone metadata and the PRISM and Tempora Internet surveillance programs. Snowden said the leaks were an effort “to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”[4][5][6]

On June 14, 2013, US federal prosecutors filed a sealed complaint, made public on June 21,[7][8] charging Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person; the latter two allegations are under the Espionage Act.[9]

Snowden’s leaks are said to rank among the most significant breaches in the history of the NSA.[10] Matthew M. Aid, an intelligence historian in Washington, said disclosures linked to Snowden have “confirmed longstanding suspicions that NSA’s surveillance in this country is far more intrusive than we knew.

The facts, the history, the storyline are simple, plain and clear cut. The implication, ramifications and fallout from Mr. Snowden’s deeds are massive and far reaching.  He has set off a virtual firestorm of controversy that has shaken the core beliefs of many Americans (and Brits)

A most complicated and heated debate on freedom, security and constitutional intent has resulted with opinions ranging far and wide across the political spectrum.  Before I give you my take on thsis sticky issue,  I ask that YOU the readers please add your voice to the conversation.  Was he a traitor or a hero?  or something else?  Where do YOU stand on this controversial issue?

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9 Responses to Edward Snowden : Hero or Traitor?

  1. Joanne Fanizza says:

    Boy, I have such mixed feelings about him. First, the surveillance programs had been in effect since Dubya and Satan, er, Cheney’s Reign of Terror. Not really news, except perhaps the extent of the surveillance. Second, some of the things he revealed DO compromise our international relationships (like the stuff being discussed about our European friends now), and that I find troublesome. Third, and perhaps most telling, is the countries to WHERE he fled: Hong Kong, run by China, then Russia, neither one a country whom we trust, and both countries that would LOVE to know what he knows. I remember the Pentagon Papers case, and while Daniel Ellsburg claims Snowden is a hero just like he was back then, I do not agree. If Snowden really wanted to be a hero, he wouldn’t have fled. Ellsburg didn’t flee, he stood up for what he did. He certainly didn’t run into the arms of the North Vietnamese. So right now, I’m leaning on the side of traitor.

    • joeref says:

      Well said…and I must say that I agree. Ellsberg did something and stood up for himself with strength, dignity and purposr. This young man Snowden may have had good intentions but he has behaved in a really odd way. He has shown little character and little intestinal fortitude. If you believe what you are doing is a noble effort, it seems qute odd that you would run away like a frightened child rather than stand and fight for what you truly believe in. And yes…his choice of safe havens are most disturbing.

  2. Simon says:

    Not knowing Mr. Snowden or his circumstance, the only thing I can bring up in his defense regarding where he decided to flee is that he is very aware of the examples of those who have gone before him. Mr. Ellsberg may have received a real trial, but since George Bush the Lesser, people whom the government suspects of wrongdoing tend to end up in limitless, trialless detention or, worse, at the wrong end of a drone. Again, not to defend Mr. Snowden — in general, though, I, who grew up in a Germany only too recently liberated from the criminal Nazi regime and still full of the “what could I do?” defense, would tend to side with those who expose illegal or immoral government action — but I can see that he might find it safest to side with those players least likely to hand him over for prosecution.

    • joeref says:

      and you’re correct. The environment in the US these days is such that the federal government wields a heavy hammer in these instances. It would take a very strong man to face up to that reality. After all he is only 29 years old and the weight of his convictions is VERY HEAVY. Maybe he only realized the gravity of the government’s response after the fact. I do believe his intentions were pure but with those convictions come the consequences.

  3. arthur berman says:

    Just look what happened to Michael Hastings just as he was going into hiding from the government for his investigative journalism….His engine was thrown from his car 100ft. when his car exploded and he was killed. They said it was an accident. Big Brother is here to stay and they will do anything to keep the public dumbed out…

  4. Pingback: Leaks like Snowden’s put lives at risk | Cbcburke9's Blog

    • joeref says:

      possibly…not conclusive…maybe the lives of under cover operators, but I think those people signed on knowing the chances they were taking

  5. Pingback: FOF - Fan on Fire — Edward Snowden is both a hero and a traitor

    • joeref says:

      What makes the entire Snowden incident so complex is that in reality he is both a traitor and a hero. He has stood up for the rights we have come to cherish in our great American democracy. He has made a case for the privacy and rule of law for the people of this great republic. But on the other hand he has compromised the security of the society by possibly playing into the hands of America’s enemies. He is both a hero and a traitor.

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