It seems that everyone is torn between praising Edward Snowden for his vigilante work of exposing the surveillance protocol of the United States, and loathing him for merely leaking information and running away to China, then Russia.
Ex-National Security Administration contractor Snowden, who leaked classified information about national surveillance to multiple newspapers, is portrayed to be a threat to the security of the American people as Russia granted him temporary asylum.
It seems selfish and contradictory for someone so worried about privacy and freedom to seek asylum in a place such as Russia where civil liberties are not even apparent.
Considering Bradley Manning leaked classified information while being stationed on an army base in Afghanistan, Snowden’s actions seem almost cowardly.
The difference between these two men is Manning was tried in a harsh military court because he was in the military and leaked the information on base. He was convicted on counts of espionage and faces up to 35 years behind bars.
Snowden, however, ran off before the documents were officially leaked and sought out information to leak as he was promoted by the company contracted by the NSA.
Manning stuck around, painstakingly underwent the harsh military courts and came out with a hefty prison time, just to send a message to Snowden.
Though I would not classify Snowden as a hero, his intent is honorable. His execution was terrible, however.
If only he could have taken a higher road and stuck around to defend not only himself, but the freedom of his fellow American citizens against this overbearing invasion of our privacy and personal electronics.
History will define whether Snowden will become the positive privacy vigilante or cowardly whistleblower.