Recently I wrote an article mocking Edward Snowden for claiming that the only reason he’s stuck in Russia is because the United States pulled his passport. I mocked that because Snowden would have to have been a complete buffoon to not know that after he publicly came out as the person who leaked these NSA documents, the first thing the United States was going to do was revoke his passport.
Did he really expect them to let him have an easy path to whatever non-extradition country he wanted?
And this guy claims he was a trained NSA spy?
If all the “spy training” you had was watching the movie Spies Like Us, you’d probably have enough common sense to know that once the United States government knew who it was that leaked these documents, one of the first things they were going to do was make it nearly impossible for that person to travel internationally.
But these people who call Snowden a “patriot” or a “hero,” believing that he should be completely free to come back to the United States without facing any kind of criminal charges, don’t seem to fully understand what they’re talking about.
For the sake of argument let’s say that everything Snowden stole pertaining to possible illegal activity by the NSA is 100% legit and every last bit of it is proven to be unconstitutional. Then yes, I would agree that he’s a patriot and a hero for risking everything to take that stand.
Except that’s not all he stole, nor is it all that he’s leaked.
Telling a newspaper in China that the United States government spied on Chinese computers isn’t “revealing unconstitutional surveillance of Americans” and leaking that classified information is illegal.
Writing an “open letter” trying to get Brazil to grant him political asylum by offering to help Brazil investigate United States surveillance, because Snowden leaked information about the U.S. spying on the Brazilian government, isn’t “standing up for the Constitutional rights of Americans.”
Saying that the NSA is “in bed” with Germany and other governments, working together on elaborate surveillance programs, isn’t “protecting the freedom of American citizens.”
Leaking documents showing that Sweden has helped the United States spy on Russia isn’t “being a patriot.”
Producing documents that reveal details on how the NSA gets some of its intelligence on the location of dangerous terrorists isn’t “being a passionate supporter of our Bill of Rights.”
Revealing that the United States uses cyber-attacks as an “intelligence weapon” for overseas targets has nothing to do with our Constitution.
Neither did producing documents that showed the British government set up surveillance of G20 delegates and phones during the G20 summit in 2009.
Last I checked, countries in Latin America weren’t protected by our Constitution either – yet Snowden still leaked information about how the NSA listens in on phone calls in many of those nations.
Can’t say I see any connection to our Constitution in Snowden’s leak of documents pertaining to al-Qaeda’s efforts to shoot down or hack our drones.
I’ll admit that I’m not a Constitutional scholar, but I’m pretty sure French citizens aren’t protected by our Constitution.
And I have no idea what Canada’s intelligence gathering has to do with American rights.
Though I’m fairly certain revealing that the NSA helped the Dutch spy on Somalia has absolutely nothing to do with the Constitution.
I’ll go ahead and stop there. There were plenty of other examples (such as the United States government hacking the German chancellor’s phone and spying on the Mexican president) but I think I made my point.
So even if you’re on the side of believing that he’s a “patriot” for revealing that the NSA has been unconstitutionally and illegally spying on Americans – that doesn’t recuse him of being a traitor. The fact is that he illegally stole this information and much of what he took, and subsequently leaked, has nothing to do with our Constitution or the rights of Americans.