Edward Snowden: Scoundrel
Against Edward Snowden's decisions
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Edward Snowden, a former C.I.A government contractor, illegally leaked information of the National Security Agency (NSA) spying on citizens and allies. At 29 years old, he is controversially known as either a scoundrel or whistleblower. The article “Edward Snowden is no Hero” by Jeffrey Toobin makes a compelling and persuasive argument as to why Snowden should not be honored for his actions. Despite opinions of Snowden being a hero for what he did, stealing classified documents from the government is illegal and he should undoubtedly be labeled a scoundrel.
As an employee of the CIA, Snowden was fully aware of his commitment and duty to work for the country not against it. His acts of stealing information and publicizing it without authorization had been warned against repeatedly as Toobin mentions in “Edward Snowden is No Hero”. Snowden’s defense that he was “answering to a higher calling” or was doing it for the good of the country is invalid. What he did was no act of civil disobedience because of the way he handled it. The NSA leaks are harming the nation by compelling citizens to question the USA’s morals and earning distrust from our allies. In regard to the article “Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower” by the editorial board of the New York Times, they portrayed Snowden as being helpless with no way to bring this issue up to his superiors. The issue with the opinion is that he never tried. Snowden’s actions may have been civil if he did this first rather than immediately publicizing such a crucial matter and threatening the credibility of the United States. Edward Snowden should not be praised for his irrational and illegal release of government documents.
A major controversy in the topic of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks is whether civil rights override the safety of the country. Those in charge of our country are having trouble balancing the two and threats against safety are what led to the “listening in” by the NSA. Snowden was reasonable to feel violated, but he was hypocritical to in return violate the policies of the United States. He used his twisted perception of good and bad rather than facts to decide that it was wrong. As Toobin similarly stated in his previously mentioned article “so he wasn’t blowing the whistle on anything illegal; he was exposing something that failed to meet his own standard of propriety”. If Snowden can claim that these actions are illegal, placing his own moral beliefs above the integrity of the United States, what is to say all Americans or government employees won’t start doing the same? He put himself before the country. In leaking the information, he thought about the attention he would get rather than the negative reputation that would damage the country. This type of person is not what we should look up to as a nation.
Snowden’s reaction to the attention he has gotten following the leaks is also inexcusable. Rather than standing by his opinion that what the NSA is doing is illegal, he ran away to avoid punishment. Toobin also sees this as one of Snowden’s flaws. Toobin said “Snowden fled to Hong Kong when he knew the publication of his leaks were imminent” He then resorted to asylum in Russia where he still remains today seeking protection and avoiding the U.S government. His actions are cowardly and certainly not ones that qualify him as an honorable figure to our country.
Edward Snowden should rightfully be known as a scoundrel. His leaks of the NSA spying or “tapping into” citizen’s information were wrong. They are jeopardizing the United State’s reputation.