The repeated question of the week; “Is Edward Snowden a hero or are his actions treasonous?” Admittedly, each time I read another article on the subject, I find myself straddling the fence. As of yet, I still do not find his actions valiant nor do they rise to level of treason, as defined by our U.S. Constitution. In that case, he would have had to aid the enemy with whom the U.S. is at war. But he has not yet carried out his threat—so there is more to come.
Certainly, he crossed the line stepping away from the role as whistleblower. His stealing data from our National Security Agency to expose the extent of the government’s surveillance program came in the wake of honest reporting from the Associated Press and James Rosen, reporting similar events. I find it difficult to believe Snowden’s intent, as reported by Glenn Greenwald, a reporter at the Guardian, was that he did not intend to hurt the U.S. government but “shine light on it.” He did hurt our government. In a way, his actions could end up hurting each one of us. Certainly, he could have made a more courageous choice.
But no, Snowden purposely chose to insert himself in countries where we have precarious relationships. And while he continues to collect his minutes of fame, playing Catch Me If You Can, his more egregious act may not be his amateur sleuthing, but the irrevocable damage to our foreign affairs. Within the week, this average American citizen managed to embolden two world powers, China and Russia, to thumb their noses at America (well maybe not their thumbs). And I suspect he’s not finished, which also begs the question…is he really working alone? Julian Assange rings a bell?
The scandals coming out of Washington are sempiternal. I suspect in time this one will dissipate with the others. However, the greater issue is not Snowden, but the continual hacking of our national intelligence by the countries Snowden cozied up to. In the meantime, if it is important to attach a label to Edward Snowden, perhaps one might try using the word depraved.