In an interview with former Obama adviser David Axelrod for CNN, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that Edward Snowden’s leaking thousands of classified documents to the public was “inappropriate and illegal.” However, Holder also added that Snowden “actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made." In light of these comments, the White House offered a rebuttal, stating that President Obama does not, in fact, think Snowden performed a public service.
A whistleblower is a criminal to the people he blows the whistle on.
Snowden blew the whistle on the government. Naturally, the government is going to label him a criminal.
Now, if someone who works on behest of the government were to expose wrongdoing stemming from another entity, the government will promote them as a hero.
Whether Mr. Snowden should come back to the United States for a trial isn’t a call I can make. Only Mr. Snowden knows his position, and whether he should come back or not. Until anyone walks in his shoes, I don’t think we can offer an opinion on the matter.
However, I do believe all whistleblowers perform a public service. If you work for the government, and you see the government violating the Constitution and Bill of Rights -- or even violating its own laws -- it's imperative to blow the whistle.
The problem is we have a culture, and a government, that will punish those who severely. Look at the case of John Kiriakou: here's a man in the CIA, a top-notch performer, patriotic and devoted to his country, who refused training for torture, stating he didn’t want any part of it, and reported it, bringing the issue to light. But he ends up in prison, with his life destroyed. And yet all the people who did torture and or enforced it walk away scot-free?
Being a whistleblower is dangerous to you. The government wants it that way. Otherwise, more people would blow the whistle. If you blow the whistle on the government, you're going to face the wrath of the American government. That's the most powerful entity in the world.
Snowden, without a doubt, performed a public service. And until they release the redacted pages of the 9/11 report, how could I have any other opinion on the matter? They continue to lie to me, to you, to us.
Snowden is a hero. No doubt about it.
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