The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


July 13, 2013

Leaker Edward Snowden both hero and traitor

---- — HERO OR TRAITOR? Like many people, I have to admit I’m torn about how I feel concerning Edward Snowden.

In case you’ve been in a cave, the former government employee is accused of leaking secret documents revealing the National Security Agency’s high-tech communications data collections.

He blew the whistle that “Big Brother is watching you” as George Orwell predicted would occur in his novel “1984.”

Did anyone really think that our government wasn’t keeping an eye on certain people? In this day of terrorism, a lot of Americans are willing to give up personal freedoms to know that the NSA is keeping us safe by uncovering any possible plots against the United States.

However, the big question concerning the government is: How far do they go?

Do you really trust the government? Do they investigate businesses for political reasons or have taps on the country’s newspapers and other media that might have specific political leanings? I have often wondered about that strange clicking on my phone when I talk to people. And my computer seems to be working a lot slower. Go figure.

Snowden blew the whistle and then blew out of the country and has been trying to get asylum. Will he give up other secrets he might know just to get special treatment so he doesn’t have to face a possible trial in the United States?

One big question I would have for Snowden is: Where did you get the money to go into hiding like that? Were you paid to reveal secrets?

It’s interesting, but the split is pretty even among Americans on whether Snowden should be considered a hero or be prosecuted. I found it interesting that the online petition site, We the People, has already obtained far more than the 100,000 signatures for the Petition to Pardon Edward Snowden. That means the White House must respond to the petition.

As far as a pardon goes, I’m against it. At least until Snowden returns to the United States and fights the charges against him. That way we would know if he really did any damage to the nation’s security.

Then, if he is found guilty of espionage, a pardon could be considered if his crimes weren’t actually harming us.

Yes, he made the country look bad. But in reality, doesn’t every country spy on other countries, even allies? I would have to think they do. There’s a certain paranoia that comes with running any nation.

Hey, you never now when those darn Canadians might attack. All those Canadians on NHL teams in America very well could be spies – especially the goalies, because they wear masks.

Snowden certainly made his place in history along with other whistleblowers of the past. He’ll never quite have the status of Deep Throat from the Richard Nixon debacle, but Snowden has everyone’s attention.

Only time and history will dictate whether he’s considered a hero or a traitor.

The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this column each Saturday for the Opinion page. He can be reached at

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