Edward Snowden’s Dubious Achievement

To be entirely fair to Edward Snowden, there are whistleblowers who stand with him and who applaud what he has done in exposing NSA surveillance programs and techniques. But it is also worth noting that there are plenty of whistleblowers who think that Edward Snowden has done the cause of whistleblowing no good whatsoever:

When Edward Snowden first started revealing secrets about the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance operations, the small community of U.S. government whistleblowers and their advocates publicly leapt to Snowden’s defense. But now that the world’s most famous leaker has apparently left Hong Kong for Moscow (and beyond), that support has begun to erode. Some of the best-known whistleblowers of the past decade are now concerned that Snowden’s flight to America’s geopolitical rivals will make it easier to brand tomorrow’s whistleblowers as enemies of the state.

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“By fleeing to foreign countries of questionable taste, [Snowden] has taken his acts beyond the normal American view of a whistleblower,” adds veteran investigator 
Glenn Walp, who exposed huge security holes at Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory. “Ultimately he will not be remembered or identified as a whistleblower, but rather, in most circles, as a traitor – that’s the difference.”

Other whistleblowers have latched onto Snowden’s 
recent admission that he took his job with Booz Allen Hamilton for the sole purpose of gathering evidence on the NSA’s cyberspying networks. “That’s not how a whistleblower behaves,” said Martin Edwin Andersen, a former whistleblower who exposed misconduct within the Justice Department. “He had a number of legal recourses he could have pursued; for example, he could have gone to Congress, where many members — Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative — regularly and vocally challenge the system. Instead, he knowingly went back on his word and broke the law.”

And remember: Snowden, the supposed advocate of an open, free and democratic society is relying on countries that are anything but open, free and democratic to shield him from the legal consequences of his actions.