Glenn Greenwald from the Guardian conducted an exclusive interview with Edward Snowden — the now admitted leaker and source of the highly controversial NSA surveillance programs disclosure. The 29 year-old NSA Computer Technician contractor decided to come out to the world and had acknowledged he provided details to the Guardian and the Washington Post about what could be considered the most intrusive assault on the 4th Amendment at the hands of the most secretive arm of the State. No one knows exactly how big the NSA is as far as employees, budget, or power. However, it would not be a stretch to assert that the NSA easily dwarfs the CIA in its capabilities given the digital world we find ourselves.
If you caught any of the Sunday Morning Talk Shows, it would be safe to say most establishment polls and pundits are outraged at the leak and are quick to inject the politics of fear in their speculation of how damaging this leak is to “national security” and how “less safe” we will all be because of it. Additionally, the establishment is quick to demand prosecution, imprisonment, and even possible execution of the now self-identified leaker.
What are we to think of Snowden? Hero or criminal? Patriot or Traitor? Should we hang him for his deeds or honor his act as a courageous stand against the State and its depredation of our (so called) privacy and property rights?
While I personally have an opinion on the ethics of Snowden actions, let us consider a few things. How do we view people from the past who, like Snowden, have taken a deliberate stance against the State? How did we view them then and how do we view them now?