Do you know who Edward Snowden is? Probably.
Do you have an opinion on Edward Snowden? Definitely.
If there’s one thing that I have learned since Snowden popped his whistleblowing cherry, it’s that everyone has an opinion about him whether they know who he is or not. He is either a hero or a traitor. There is no in between or gray area for the masses for this man.
He is either the alpha patriot or the omega cyber terrorist. He either deserves to be given a medal or a noose around his neck.
The United States government on the record believes Edward Snowden to be a traitor who if ever captured will be tried as such. The United States and our allies are the good guys of the world. We protect the masses from the bad guys preemptively when possible, and defeat the bad guys by force when plausible.
Europe generally, and the European Union specifically have been an ally of America for quite some time. The Allied Powers of Word War II naturally comes to mind. One need not be up to the minute on international relations, politics, or events to know that Europe and America have a very positive and professional relationship regardless of specific country or state.
The European Union Parliament recently voted to give Edward Snowden asylum and to offer it to him with as little difficult as possible.
Can you imagine the EU doing this to someone the US government labeled a communist traitor during the Cold War
It’s not a radical example at all. Snowden is currently in Russia.
How can Snowden be a traitor of the highest level in the United States yet our greatest ally is now formally welcoming him with open arms? This was not a random, one off, toothless statement by some drunk politician. This was the equivalent of the United States Congress offering asylum to a man that a country like France had labeled a traitor.
Edward Snowden has become the very public face of a very private world. The world of big data, cyber crime, cyber warfare, and privacy in the digital world.
For better or for worse, whether one agrees or disagrees with his method, Snowden has brought about as important a conversation that can be had in the digital age. One can be the biggest supporter of government surveillance while still admitting that Snowden has spurred a healthy debate on the issue.
Do we not have the right to at least know we are being watched and recorded every time we use our smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, and any other device that is connected to the internet? The fact is, most people, especially in America simply didn’t know or assume this before Snowden.
It was very easy to paint Snowden as a traitor to America since he leaked government secrets to the public and has since taken barely secret residence in Russia. The EU formally offering him asylum turns the black and white into a very murky shade of gray.
Considering how many broadcast news stations have had in person interviews with Snowden since he received asylum in Russia indicates that he is not America’s most wanted. After recent terrorist attacks and mass shootings across America and its allies, it is clear that Snowden is not a terrorist even if one views him as a traitor.
If however, he has been formally offered asylum by America’s greatest and longest standing allies…how can he be a traitor?