Like him or loathe him, many people have strongly held views about former government contractor Edward Snowden, who spilled some of America’s most sensitive national security secrets to the world – including to our enemies.
This is evidenced by various national polls, an average of which show a nation somewhat divided about Snowden.
- Is he a traitor, a hero, a martyr, or something else?
What's evident is that Snowden committed an unlawful and egregious act by leaking highly classified information to The Guardian of Great Britain as well as to the Washington Post. This appears to be a crime against America, regardless of what one thinks about the merits and constitutionality of the U.S. Government's clandestine surveillance program.
Moreover, it’s suspect that Snowden chose to unlawfully disclose the top-secret information to Glenn Greenwald, a so-called advocacy journalist at The Guardian.
Greenwald is widely known for championing the protection of privacy rights. He has written books highly critical of the U.S. Government and the post-9/11 period of proactive national security measures to prevent another massive terrorist attack -- one which may involve setting off a crude nuclear device, a "dirty bomb" or chemical/biological weapons in a U.S. city or major population center.
Therefore, such an outspoken advocacy journalist as Greenwald may not be the most objective source for reporting this story. This is exactly why Snowden hand picked him.
Advocacy journalism is usually neither fair nor objective. To the contrary, what Snowden leaked to Greenwald was akin to giving candy to a baby.
- Should this raise questions about whether Greenwald is accurately reporting all the facts?
Interestingly, The Guardian has been significantly expanding its global operations, which includes a greater reporting presence in America. Coincidentally, the Snowden "bomb shell" fits nicely into the news organization's current strategic operating plans by elevating its status on an international stage.
Violating a Sacred Trust
What matters most here is that Snowden appears to have violating the Espionage Act and/or other U.S. laws. Additionally, he violated a sacred trust with America by "sucker punching" the government and then stabbing it in the back.
Regardless, Snowden is being praised by some for outing Uncle Sam. This is despite Snowden's self-admission that he’s the leaker.
This is a self-admission which, in effect, clearly shows that Snowden is an insidious lawbreaker who -- NSA and DOJ officials say -- badly damaged U.S. national security.
While I’m no constitutional law professor – as President Obama used to be -- it appears that Snowden’s unlawful actions may indeed be tantamount to treason. Therefore, a fitting punishment might well be life in prison, if legally applicable.
Remember, as Snowden admitted, he knew the risks. He knew the high stakes.
Therefore, Snowden should face the American justice system because only a U.S. court can provide any finality about the illegality of his actions.
Attorney General Eric Holder echoed these sentiments:
- “The national security of the United States has been damaged as a result of those leaks," Holder said Friday.
- "The safety of the American people [and] the safety of people who reside in allied nations have been put at risk as a result of these leaks.”
When criminals rob a bank they don't announce to the world that they did it. Only a real narcissist would shine the spotlight upon himself in such a situation.
Snowden – being an intelligent guy – also knows his story has the potential to net him countless millions of dollars via a book deal, movie rights, public appearances, etc. Perhaps living in Hawaii on a $200,000 annual salary with a poll dancer for a girlfriend just wasn't good enough for him.
- Is it at least plausible that part of Snowden's motivation for the crime included subsequent fame and fortune?
Others believe Snowden has outsmarted us by fleeing the country and potentially taking refuge in China or Russia.
But the arms of U.S. justice have a long reach. Let's recall that we found Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and countless other enemies of America despite their planned efforts to elude capture.
So what do you think:
- Does Snowden deserve to feel the full weight of the U.S. justice system?
- If captured, should he be tried in a U.S. military court as an enemy combatant?
Remember, Snowden willfully sold out his own country to its geopolitical enemies, including global terrorists hell bent on destroying America.
Snowden has caused irrevocable harm to our nation, according to top officials of the U.S. intelligence community.
That sure sounds like espionage and treason to me.
Also check out:
Privacy vs. National Security: Where Should Gov Draw the Line in the Fight Against Terrorism?
* All views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only.