I think that exposing the unconstitutional actions of the government is the most patriotic thing any American can do. It's not like he exposed anything that would help our enemies attack us or sold military secrets of ours, he just confirmed rumors that the NSA was illegally spying on citizens. Which had already been believed by a lot of the general public since and before 9/11. If we didn't have people like Snowden, who knows what our government may do behind our backs. And I'm glad Russia gave him asylum (though I find it a bit suspicious on their part and his part) because otherwise he would be sent to Guantanamo Bay and/or be ripped to shreds by the CIA.
I deeply believe that Edward Snowden is a true American patriot. He is a whistle blower who exposed the world that the U.S government was illegally spying on American citizen's phone calls and texts. People like him help keep the government in check, which is what we are supposed to do, by what the constitution says.
He did reveal what the government was doing which was a violation of the constitution and the right to privacy. I can understand that the "proper channels" for whistleblowers don't offer any protection and would most likely lead to him being silenced and this story being buried in the pursuit of "national security, but I don't like the fact that he did the whistleblowing stuff and then fled the country to seek asylum in a country that we have tensions with.
Government surveillance has went to far, far too far. Espeically in the UK with the investagory powers draft bill which allows the governement to record everybodies internet usage and keep it for a year. I agree certain google searches and emails using words like "how do I make a bomb" and "how do I cover up a crime" should throw red flags and these people should be investigated. But middle class people, with no criminal records and good educations and jobs amazon search history or what news site they go on should not be recorded, that is not benefifcial to society. Known terrorists should be investigated as should potential. How do you determine a potential terrorist, ultimately some form of racial profiling is required here. And no I don't think that's a bad things.
The reason Snowden is a traitor is because he compromised national security. He told people, terrorists and criminals included, how the government were surveilling them and how to evade this detection. He empowered terrorists plain and simple.
His actions alone define this fact.
Obviously he leaked sensitive information about our country while being in the employment of the country and signing an agreement that forbids such actions.
Yes, we have a right to privacy but that does not extend to illegal actives. You see, this is what the government is looking for. The government couldn't care less about your personal life. They don't care who you sleep with, or any other kind of personal activities. What they do care about is matters of national security/safety. If they find a way to detect and prevent a terrorist attack, I say, let them use that method.
To the best of my knowledge, this is how the system works. Because it would be impossible for them to have real people read through every every electronic message, they have a program that quickly scans messages for hundreds of key words such as bomb, president, or radiation. Once detected, it sort of puts a red flag on both the sender and receiver of the message. At this point, nothing is done and nobody has actually read the rest of the messages so no information about either is known to anyone. If the system finds that one person has accumulated a large number of these flags, it is only then that the person is suspect. Then, they may have someone take a closer look at messages being sent because it is highly likely that they are up to something really bad. If the person reading the messages finds out that it is nothing, no other action is taken but if they find information about a threat, then further steps are taken.
Let's look at another fact about Snowden. After leaking the information, he fled to and sought asylum in Russia that they granted him. Think about it, if you owned a company, and a disgruntled employee of your competition wanted you to hire them, would you? Of course not, after all, they leaked information about their own company, so would you trust them in yours? So why would you hire them? Would Russia care about the personal lives of innocent people in the U.S.? Why would they? Clearly Snowden had some information that Russia either wanted or didn't want other to know. For instance access codes, or back doors to U.S. secure government computers. Odds are, a person in Snowden's position could have access to such information that could/would jeopardize our nation. He may also have had access to sensitive information about Russia that was found by the program. Clearly Russia would not want that information to leak out as well so may have allowed him asylum to prevent him from leaking them. Either way, Russia would have motive to give him asylum beyond protecting a U.S. fugitive.
Personally, I don't know why the U.S. citizens didn't realize that the government had such a program. After all, the U.S. Department of Defense funded the creation of the internet (ARPANET). Look it up.