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'Demonizing Edward Snowden: Which Side Are You On?'
June 25, 2013 - Ben Klein
There's been a lot written about Edward Snowden over the last couple of weeks since the former National Securty Agency contractor leaked a number of documents to The Guardian and Washington Post newspapers.
The Times Observer poll question of the day asked on Monday - "Do you consider NSA leaker Edward Snowden a criminal or a hero?"
Responses ranged from calling Snowden a "traitor" to backing "him for protecting the Constitution. Unlawful search and seisure" to the claim that he "He has lists of CIA operatives, lists of co-op names".
The best response so far is from John Cassidy of the New Yorker who on Monday wrote about how "journalists" such as David Greggory the host of Meet the Press have covered the whole affair.
From The New Yorker:
"More unnerving is the way in which various members of the media have failed to challenge the official line. Nobody should be surprised to see the New York Post running the headline: "ROGUES' GALLERY: SNOWDEN JOINS LONG LIST OF NOTORIOUS, GUTLESS TRAITORS FLEEING TO RUSSIA." But where are Snowden's defenders? As of Monday, the editorial pages of the Times and the Washington Post, the two most influential papers in the country, hadn't even addressed the Obama Administration's decision to charge Snowden with two counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count of theft.
If convicted on all three counts, the former N.S.A. contract-systems administrator could face thirty years in jail. On the Sunday-morning talk shows I watched, there weren't many voices saying that would be an excessive punishment for someone who has performed an invaluable public service. And the person who did aggressively defend Snowden's actions, Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian blogger who was one of the reporters to break the story, found himself under attack. After suggesting that Greenwald had "aided and abetted" Snowden, David Gregory, the host of NBC's "Meet the Press," asked, "Why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?"
After being criticized on Twitter, Gregory said that he wasn't taking a position on Snowden's actions—he was merely asking a question. I'm all for journalists asking awkward questions, too. But why aren't more of them being directed at Hayden and Feinstein and Obama, who are clearly intent on attacking the messenger?"
Cassidy continues, writing the Obama Administration wants to lock up Snowden for "And for what? For telling would-be jihadis that we are monitoring their Gmail and Facebook accounts? For informing the Chinese that we eavesdrop on many of their important institutions, including their prestigious research universities? For confirming that the Brits eavesdrop on virtually anybody they feel like? Come on. Are there many people out there who didn't already know these things?"
"...on its side, the Obama Administration has the courts, the intelligence services, Congress, the diplomatic service, much of the media, and most of the American public. Snowden's got Greenwald, a woman from Wikileaks, and a dodgy travel document from Ecuador. Which side are you on?"
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