Alright, so we live in a permanent war on terror in which the government is granted war powers to do all sorts of unsavory things. We’re assured that all of these things need to be kept secret from us. But we can trust them - they have our best interests in mind. Don’t worry, they can’t tell us what they’re doing, but they assure us it’s in their best interest.
And we go along with it, because we’re scared little sheep.
Now tell me this - given the lockdown on the information in a national security state in perpetual emergency, how do we find out when the government is overstepping its power? There’s no real congressional oversight - they brief the intelligence committee in vague terms, and they’re not even allowed to tell other representatives. There’s no overseeing civilian entity - the FISA court is a complete joke. So how do we keep tabs on whether the government who promised to serve us but who has carte blanche to operate in secret is actually acting in our best interest?
Whistleblowers are the only thing we have left. Someone who’s on the inside, who knows what the government is doing, but actually has a conscience and the courage to ruin his life in order to reveal to the public - the people they ultimately claim to serve - what exactly is being done to them.
Snowden gave up a lot in an act of conscience and sacrificed a lot to tell us what is being done to us in secret. That’s a self-sacrificing act, for the benefit of us all. I’m quite perplexed at the people on this board who seem to hate him. Of course he broke the law - because the laws are set up in such a way that the American government is an adversary of its people. That it can do anything it wants to them in secret and we’ll never question it or want to know more, and if anyone reveals abuses we actually attack them. If your desire is to silence whistleblowers, you’re playing right into the government’s hand, and volunteering to allow them to run roughshod over you.
The grandest irony in all of this is that being a traitor is the act of aiding and abetting your enemies. In this case, Snowden tried to tell the American people what their government was doing. Which means that if he’s a traitor, then the American public is the enemy.