Do I believe that the should be punished? Yes of course they should. Regardless of why they leaked any information it does not change the fact that they broke the law. However, whether or not the deserve the death peniltity is entirely based on what the released exactly. If they release intelligence that puts the security if the nation at risk or if they put the lives of US citizens at risk then by all means hang them. However I have not heard anything about Snooden guy that would suggest he has done that. Definitely deserves some jail time but death? No. I don't believe so. Now Bradley manning. There's a guy who deserves to hang.
I equate leaking classified information to treason, which is punishable by death. Whether what he did will have a positive impact or not is irrelevant to me. What matters is that he leaked state secrets and put the integrity of US intelligence operations at risk. He should be tried and if found guilty, receive nothing less than life in prison. This trend of vindicating whistle blowers "for the greater good" is disconcerting, and raises the even broader question of when it will happen next. By not severely punishing both him (and the private who released the info to Wikileaks), this could become a new norm. As the old adage goes, this is a problem that must be "nipped in the bud."
In some cases, I believe that it is in fact necessary to execute an individual for leaking classified information. These cases, however, are only cases where it can be proven that an Americans life was endangered or taken because of the said leakage. With the case of Mr. Snowden, what he has done thus far is not worthy of execution. He acted in the interests of the American people, and did not sell us out to any foreign dignitary.
Information about Government actions that threaten the Constitutional liberties and rights of American citizens are of the utmost importance for us to know about. Mr. Snowden did a great service to his country by showing us what our government was really doing. He doesn't deserve death.
On the other hand, however, there are individuals who leak classified documents to foreign governments and hostile forces. This is not, by any means, a service to the American people. If someone wishes to advance our enemies by handing over classified military information, then by all means, it is espionage and nothing more, nothing less.
So, both yes and no. Not dancing around the subject; a reluctant yes.
There is no reason that an individual should be executed for the crime of leaking classified information since we can realistically imprison someone for this crime and then not ever permit them obtaining classified information again. It is unlikely that someone convicted of this crime will have sufficient resources to effect an escape and if they do, there is no reason to believe that they will be capable of offending again. So the only reason for execution is vengeance which I hope we will all eventually agree is a pretty shoddy reason.
There is no real reason that individuals who leak classified information should be anything else than fired and charged. Killing a person over such an event would cause massive backlash to the government in a free speech based society, not to mention the fact that execution, in most any crime, is a heinous overreaction.
Any argument in the alternative must conclude that life has no intrinsic value. If that is the case, then the resolution loses its foundational assumption: assuming that life has no value, then protecting life is meaningless: national security (and every other human endeavor) becomes pointless.
Their only play in this debate is to use a utilitarian framework and argue the costs and benefits of homicide are outweighed by a hypothetical deterrent effect on future whistle-blowers. This in turn is only meaningful if less whistle-blowing enhances national security. Finally, the value of enhanced national security depends upon its effect on the preservation of HUMAN LIFE. So, in the end, the affirmative is asking us to take a human life because their daisy-chain of attenuated internal links, all with dubious assumptions, says that by doing so we may save human life. Voting affirmative means somebody dies and his or her blood is on our hands. Voting negative removes our culpability with murder and is the only world in which everyone has a possibility to survive.
If someone does indeed leak confidential information, they should be punished, but what makes the punishment death? I think it depends on the scale of the confidentiality of the information. IF it was for the government, obviously the punishment should be more intense than a few Facebook passwords. The only real reason I feel someone should be executed under this criteria is if they leaked something that would severely injure another person/group of people.
Many if not all of the documents leaked are not information that would necessarily help terrorist, but rather they contain information that the government does not want the public to know but that they should know - case in point, a video Bradley Manning leaked which caused him to be fired and kept WITHOUT CHARGE IN ILLEGAL DETENTION FOR YEARS was of an American helicopter shooting neutral Reuters personnel. This should have been made public and on the news - the government, after all, is intended to represent the people. They should be able to judge on whether what it does is right rather than it being kept secret.