Opinion: Edward Snowden is a patriot


#1

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#2

He's certainly more of a patriot than Obama.

And, to be fair, almost all of our elected representatives.


#3

He seems to actually understand what America the Idea MEANS, unlike our rigged-elections-supporting, money-saturated excuse for "democracy".


#4

That it's even a question whether or not he is a 'patriot' boggles my mind.

I can see (but not agree with) arguments to the effect that he was a misguided patriot who was either harming unpleasant-but-actually-necessary programs or something of that flavor; but there just isn't any remotely plausible account of his motives if you exclude 'patriotism'.

Even the conspiracy-theorists and crass op-ed hatchetmen haven't found any plausible 'spying in the service of $FOREIGN_POWER(a few have mentioned the 'zOMG, what if the Russians used their secret ruskie-fu to decrypt his laptops!!! theory; but that theory implicitly requires that they'd be gaining access over Snowden's objections).

The 'grandiose, publicity seeking' narrative that they've trotted out for Assange(which in his case is probably true, but rarely relevant to the situations that it is trotted out for), is so unconvincing that even the hacks abandoned it almost immediately.

There's no 'disgruntled employee trying to stick it to boss' story, both because it's a matter of record that he had some fairly cushy gigs with the feds, and because if he had ever said anything impolitic at the water cooler it probably would have been trotted out by now.

You can argue that he's bad at patrotism(though I'd say quite the opposite); but it's just crickets over in the 'other explanations for why somebody would run substantial risks for no apparent reward' section.


#5

No, I don’t think Mr. Snowden was a patriot... I called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before Mr. Snowden made these leaks. My preference, and I think the American people’s preference, would have been for a lawful, orderly examination of these laws. A thoughtful, fact-based debate that would then lead us to a better place.

Obama says even before the leaks, he proposed "a thorough review of our surveillance operations." Is he serious? I [Steve Chapmen] asked Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU's Washington legislative office, what he was referring to. "I have no idea," she said. "And I work on these things."
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-08-09/opinion/chi-obama-misleads-on-snowden-20130809_1_edward-snowden-nsa-leaks-barack-obama

Was Obama referring to his criticism of government surveillance before he came to power? As it is I'm constantly surprised at how comfortable he's getting with towing the official line on this issue. He complains about false and incomplete information coming out from Snowden's leaks, when this is a flood of unfiltered truth compared to anything that's coming from the government. In five years of Obama's government up to Snowden's revalations the situation has only changed for the worse and become less transparent, yet Obama has the breathtaking gall to question Snowden's motives and claim that his real desire was always essentially to go further - "put the whole elephant out there" rather than the piecemeal leaks that we're currently getting. In that case, I hope the government is prepared to release a lot more damning details of the scope of their powers along with the current excuses and justifications, because they are currently only showing us the ivory in this metaphor.


#6

Exactly. You can argue Snowden was irresponsible, or that he was naive, but how can you possibly argue he's not a patriot? He gave up quite a lot for this, and what does he get in return? Being stranded at an airport without a passport, subject to the whims of Putin.

If he was a spy, he'd have done it for another country, and he'd have gone there and gotten asylum there. The entire fact that his destination and asylum are such a problem is more than enough evidence that he was only thinking of the US, and not any other country.

The only way he's not a patriot is if you define patriot as someone who loves, obeys and serves the US government. But to someone who sees the US as the American people, rather than the government, Snowden can only be considered a patriot.


#7

Snowden is a defector.
Defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state in exchange for allegiance to another
Mr Snowden is more of a Benedict Arnold than anything


#8

What he did initially was likely patriotic. How he has conducted himself since then—avoiding the American judicial system as if it somehow doesn't apply to him, providing positive PR opportunities to countries with far worse human rights records than the US—is not patriotic.


#9

Yup, agreed. I'm pretty sure this isn't the vision the Founding Fathers had in mind, and I criticize them often enough for the mistakes that ARE their fault (Women and Men not being equal, slavery being accepted, etc.)


#10

I don't know his motives as he's been rather contradictory and unclear on them. So I'm not willing to say he's a patriot.

I am willing to say that releasing this has opened up people to the concept of government oversight, and that could be seen as patriotic. But right now he's being used as a tool of Putin to play games with the US on a level that has nothing to actually do with the freedom of US citizens. I know he's playing the cards he's dealt, but I'm more interested in the message than the man who delivered it, because I think the man who delivered it is going to be a tool of Putin soon.


#11

What he was avoiding was the double bind that says "revealing the crimes perpetrated against the American people is a crime." And I think it's more likely that he was afraid of his personal safety rather than mere incarceration. The American judicial system now includes torture and free rides to Gitmo, don'tcha know.


#12

If he is a 'defector' who is he now working for? Czar Putin's intelligence corps? The Terrorists?

Similarly, if he is a 'Benedict Arnold', where's the equivalent of West Point, and who is playing the British for him to join up with?


#13

If he were a spy, he probably would have kept the documents to himself. Their intelligence value is sharply reduced if everybody knows about them, the NSA knows everybody knows, and domestic political pressure is likely to cause them to change behavior (how much is a different question) in the near term.


#14

Is this the 'protests are more authentic if the cops beat you up' theory of resistance? While I respect the nerve of people who do risk punishment, I don't understand why you need to just walk obediently to trial in order to maintain the moral high ground.


#15

He did run with four laptops full of information downloaded from the NSA. He's not released NEARLY that much. So the comment that he wouldn't have released info if he were a spy might not be true. He might release stuff that everyone in the intelligence community already suspected and give some more serious stuff to his handlers. (If . I don't think he's a spy, but I think his laptops end up in the hands of Putin's FSB)


#16

The American judicial system shouldn't apply to him or any other whistleblowers, because it has repeatedly demonstrated corrupt and punitive measures against them. Situations like this are why chaotic good is an alignment and the whole reason asylum exists. Snowden has sacrificed and risked a lot to bring these matters to his country's attention ("likely" patriotic), and has obviously only begun trying to save himself second, but any self-preservation is too much for you vultures.

Snowden has not afforded positive PR opportunities for countries with far worse human rights than the US. The opportunities have all come from the American government, which has been displaying itself as a cruel and out-of-control bully, and cracking down on things like journalism - ensuring the list of countries far worse than it is shorter than one would hope.

Damn straight - Snowden was part of the NSA, which has been treating the public as their enemy, and he defected to the public's side. How come nobody questions the patriotism of the other workers, who have been upholding their contracts at the expense of the constitution, just the one guy who decided to stand up for something?


#17

The American judicial system shouldn't apply to him or any other whistleblowers, because it has repeatedly demonstrated corrupt and punitive measures against them.

What system do we then use? How do we possibly sort out the whistleblowers from the true traitors? (A group I suspect he does not belong in.)


#18

None that you have now. So you should worry about ending the war on whistleblowers and cruel and unusual punishments applied to them, and accept that some people will prefer exile to your courts until you do. That's the cost of having a corrupt justice system, which after all has shown no inclination to separate whistleblowers from traitors anyway.


#19

I sincerely hope you're trolling.

I say he's a patriot. Given he apparently had more data/information he could have leaked that would have given specifics enough for another nation to build their own prism-like infrastructure and hans't is as telling as the fact he left a well paying job and home in hawaii along with a fiancee and family.


#20

So much this!
People accusing Snowden of fleeing justice and defection ought to consider that he left a comfortable life in the country where he was a citizen, at the risk of never seeing his loved ones again, all because he couldn't live with what he perceived as an illegal, gross abuse of power. This is patriotism.