Perhaps there is no more controversial figure in America than Edward Snowden. Snowden was the NSA contractor turned whistleblower who revealed the blatantly unconstitutional programs being instituted by the United States federal government and the NSA.
He has sought refuge in Russia, as he will surely being imprisoned by the United States should he ever return. The question which is oftentimes posed: is he a hero who deserves recognition for revealing the illegal practices by the NSA in the name of ‘security,’ or did he compromise national security by making these revelations, in which his actions were treasonous and deserves very severe consequences.
When looking at this debate, it is interesting how there seems to be a very weak correlation, if any with one’s partisan affiliation and their attitude towards the figure. However, there is a very strong inverse correlation between one’s age and their belief that he is a hero. Polls suggest that 56% of Americans between 18 and 34 years old see Snowden in a positive light, as compared to 34% of those aged 35 to 44, 28% 45-55, and 26% of those over 55.
With the new Trump Administration, US intelligence officials have gained insight showing that Russia may be planning on returning Snowden to the United States as a ‘gift.’ This decision would be to ‘curry favor’ with the new President, as he has been a vocal critic of Snowden throughout the campaign.
In response to these reports, Snowden took to Twitter saying:
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) February 10, 2017
Despite these claims, some still seem to believe that Snowden has been cooperating with Russian intelligence officials and has provided sensitive information from the United States government, including former deputy national security advisor Juan Zarate.
Although White House officials have remained silent on this case, Department of Justice officials told NBC News that they would certainly welcome Snowden being returned. This comes as a Putin spokesman called the talk of Snowden being extradited ‘nonsense.’
Based on current accusations, Snowden would likely be facing a minimum of 30 years in federal prison. Initially in 2013 he fled to Hong Kong, but since went to Russia. He currently holds a residency permit which has been extended through 2020.
What do you think? Is Edward Snowden a traitor? Is a hero? Let HYPELINE News know what you think in the comments!
(h/t NBC News)