I just watched an interview with Brian Williams and Edward Snowden.
Is Snowden a hero or villain? I'm curious about what others on atheist nexus think.

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Most of the replies prior to this one are from people who know little, if anything, about America's foreign policy.

Do they know how many democratically elected governments America's CIA has overthrown, many by violent means?

Sure, Western Europe alone would not have defeated Hitler's military. He committed national suicide when he ordered the invasion of the Soviet Union.

Did America's helping to defeat Hitler entitle our CIA, in 1953, to overthrow the elected government in Iran because Iran wanted an English oil company to stop treating its Iranian employees as serfs?

Does anyone here know how many more democratically-elected governments America overthrew?

Does anyone here care?

In short, American foreign policy since WW2 has been on a collision course with Americans' civil liberties.

The events of 9/11 were a long-delayed payback.

Those who rule America have betrayed all of us and Ed Snowden deserves the highest civilian award a government of, by, and for the people can confer.

Instead, a government of, by, and for the 1% will do as it has done to other whistleblowers: destroy his career and/or imprison him.

Tom.....What you say may be true...Just remember it all depends  what party  is in power  and  what  President....When  one  party in power makes a grave  error  it is  true  it  can cause  much damage...In  a Democratic society  we then can  remove  that party from office.....I never said  America  was perfect  but  I will choose  America  every time if  given  a choice  on where to live....I do agree   the  last  14 years  has  not  been  good  for  American  foreign  policy  but  I believe most  of the harm  was done by GW Bush....The  Iran Contra affair  did not help  the Reagan  era and  Vietnam was a disaster  during Johnson's  term....However many  mistakes  we  have made  the US  is still the richest  and strongest  country  in the world  with  the  most freedom....Sure  all citizens  need to be vigilant and  protest  when  necessary  but  at least our  voices  will be heard  without  a military  coming  to arrest  us  and torture  us....

He made what was to me a very meaningful distinction - he said his job was to protect his country, not to protect his government. I think the world owes him a great debt of gratitude.

Well said Bertold!  Wish I could have put it so succinctly.

I have  mixed  feelings when it comes  to Snowden....Yes  he  divulged  to us  the tampering with  our  e-mails  and telephone calls....I believe  it  was done for national  security..with no malice  intended...Yes  we have  freedoms  given to us  in the constitution but  wouldn't  you give just  a little  up  if it meant  the CIA or NSA  caught  some  terrorists planning  something  onerous   against  our  nation......What right does an employee with high security  clearance betray the government he is working for....What does  that tell future  employees  for the intelligence  agencies, if we  call Snowden  a hero.....Freedom is not  Free...... We  have  to sacrifice sometimes  to  keep  our freedom.....Maybe Snowden's   intention  was good  but there was  a lot of classified  information that he stole ,that put our nation at risk......To  me  he crossed  the line...

I understand your feelings in this regard, and I don't disagree with them in principle. But there is also the fact that his bosses had repeatedly lied to Congress about the nature of their activities. People from Kerry on down have argued that there were other more legitimate avenues, that he could have stayed home and blown the whistle, but I don't think this claim is realistic. There's no way he would have gotten anywhere if he hadn't completely let the genie out of the bottle. Recent administrations have not been sympathetic to whistle-blowers at all.

I understand....but I still feel  it was not his place  to act  on his own....We have  a system to follow for whistle blowers..and  they are supposed  to be protected...Snowden took it upon  himself  to use  his  security clearance ,which   not  many  are entrusted with, and  abused  it.....That is Treason......

Snowden has given several examples of previous whistleblowers with lives destroyed as a result. His point is that the whistleblower programs are nothing but lies. No change can come through that avenue. Not only can the government crush you, it can do it against it's own laws. That sends an even chillier message to anyone contemplating the exposure of misdeeds. I've read several of his interviews. While he would like to come home, he knows (and knew then) it could be the end of his life as an American. He was, and is, willing, to pay that price to advance freedom. How many of us would? How hot does the water have to get before any of us would risk treason to advance freedom?

You can see I'm a supporter of his, but only because he did not release the information in a chaotic manner. His method was part of the message. It's up to us to learn from it.

I guess only time will tell......The truth  should  prevail....

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Binney_(U.S._intelligence_official)

That's what happens when you blow a whistle by following the rules.

Future, thanks for posting. There are many more people who had similar treatment. At least he wasn't sent to a mental institution for several years as one female operative was.  Snowden obviously was aware of how he would be dealt with, thus the reason he did it his way. 

"... supposed to be protected"  I am interested to see just how many whistleblowers have actually succeeded in producing a positive response from our government.  Has anyone every been believed, protected, and then had their efforts acted on in a positive manner? Has anyone ever been rewarded for their efforts? 

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