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Snowden Was Justified

The BriefGet Up To Speed

Has Edward Snowden done the U.S. a great service? There is no doubt that his release of highly classified stolen documents has sparked an important public debate, even forcing what could be a major presidential overhaul of the NSA's surveillance programs. But have his actions, which include the downloading of an estimated 1.7 million files, tipped off our enemies and endangered national security? Is Snowden a whistleblower, or is he a criminal?


Snowden was clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Editorial Board

It is clear that the promises of the president and many Democrats were simply untrue.

Friday, January 10, 2014
Thomas Ricks

Why treason charges against the NSA whistleblower don’t hold up.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Philip Giraldi

Snowden has committed serious crimes, but he has also performed a considerable public service.

Thursday, February 6, 2014
David Cole

He went too far to be considered just a whistleblower.

Friday, January 3, 2014
Fred Kaplan

Stewart Baker, former NSA general counsel, tell Morning Edition that Edward Snowden advertised his theft of government secrets as an act of civil disobedience and should take responsibility.

Thursday, January 9, 2014
Scott Neuman

For U.S. intelligence officials, the far bigger concern is what foreign intelligence services are learning from Snowden that has not made the front pages of the world’s newspapers.

Monday, July 1, 2013
Marc Thiessen

Whether he's a hero or traitor, Americans are already so acclimated to the loss of privacy that his revelations won't unnerve them much.

Thursday, June 13, 2013
Michael Hirsh and Sara Sorcher
What was leaked?

An abridged recount of the major 2013 revelations.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Dustin Volz

This page catalogs various revelations by Edward Snowden, regarding the United States’ surveillance activities.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

The N.S.A. and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters were working together on how to collect and store data from dozens of smartphone apps by 2007.

Monday, January 27, 2014
Jeff Larson

Former NSA contractor tells a German broadcaster that the US agency would collect intelligence from foreign companies that had no national defense value..

Sunday, January 26, 2014
Steven Musil
More Debate

To the prosecutors pursuing him, Edward J. Snowden has committed espionage by divulging national secrets. But the growing backlash against government surveillance has spurred a spirited debate about whether he should be forgiven.

Saturday, January 4, 2014
Peter Baker

If Snowden can be seen as either a brave whistle-blower or a reckless traitor, how should the government handle his case?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Room for Debate
Espionage Charges

Snowden was charged with theft, ‘unauthorized communication of national defense information’ and ‘willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person,’ according to the complaint. The last two charges were brought under the 1917 Espionage Act.

Friday, June 21, 2013
Peter Finn and Sari Horwitz
Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Who is actually bringing ‘injury to America’: those who are secretly building a massive surveillance system or those who inform citizens that it’s being done?

Saturday, June 22, 2013
Glenn Greenwald
NSA Reform

The president’s remarks on changes to National Security Agency programs.

Friday, January 17, 2014
Washington Post

See how the president's reforms match up to the views of his own surveillance review board, and to the USA Freedom Act, the leading congressional proposal to rein in NSA spying.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

<a title="USA Freedom Act " href="">The USA Freedom Act</a> is proposed legislation from Senators Leahy and Sensenbrenner to provide stronger privacy safeguards with respect to a range of government surveillance programs.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Patrick Leahy and Jim Sensenbrenner

The final report of the Review Group with recommended changes to intelligence collection activities.

Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Presidents Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies

An independent federal privacy watchdog has concluded that the National Security Agency’s program to collect bulk phone call records has provided only ‘minimal’ benefits in counterterrorism efforts, is illegal and should be shut down.<a name="telephonerecords" id="telephonerecords"></a>

Thursday, January 23, 2014
Charlie Savage

‘The daily governmental collection of the telephone calling records of nearly every American has deep privacy ramifications, fundamentally alters the relationship between citizens and the state, and threatens to substantially chill the speech and associational freedoms that are essential to our democracy. Any governmental program that entails such costs requires a strong showing of efficacy. We do not believe the NSA’s telephone records program conducted under Section 215 meets that standard.’

Thursday, January 23, 2014
Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

Most say U.S. should pursue criminal case against Snowden.

Monday, January 20, 2014
Pew Research