How are Citizens Convinced Snowden is a Traitor?

So a few months ago I was having a beer with my dad and our neighbor who happens to be an an ex-Army Ranger and current State Department security agent. I generally highly value his opinions and first hand perspective on foreign affairs and events (he's been in just about every Middle-Eastern country, combat and diplomatic assignments) but when conversation on Snowden came up once, I was taken aback. They both considered Snowden a traitor and likened my support of his actions to me being an edgy teen (not the word they used, but pretty much what they meant). 

How the fuck did they come to this idea? Funny how people forget that we are supposed to own our government. It seems like many common people have a submissive attitude towards all government. I really hope this mindset changes, worldwide.

There are two separate discrete things that he did.  One, he released information related to how the US Government gathers information about its citizens without their knowledge, consent, and without a warrant—in violation of The 4th Amendment.  Two, he released operational details about how the US Government gathers information on foreign governments and entities—some of these entities are terrorists.

His American supporters like to tout the former and ignore the latter, but the latter is what makes him a traitor in the eyes of his detractors.   Personally, if he had just released information about the former, most people would be hard pressed to call him a traitor.  Yes, he would have violated the law and broken his oath, but the US Government is violating the law with its mass surveillance programs.  But as soon as he released details about the how US Intelligence agencies gather information about foreign governments and entities and who they are spying on, he became a traitor.

Of course, people in foreign counties will not see it this way, and most likely will view it exactly opposite.  However, I think your question is why are American citizens convinced he is a traitor.

As an American, what he did was show illegal activities of the US government. The information doesn't matter if it was classified since secrecy goes out the window when the activity is illegal. 

Snowden is a whistle blower not a traitor. 

Partially, the news media.  They largely worked off the governments talking points.  It's sad, but they have a tremendous sway on public opinion.  Second, you neighbor is actually part of the government, and works in a department that was impacted by the leaks.  That's his home team, and you always defend your home team.  It's tribalism, and it's part of our DNA.  He views Snowden as taking a swipe at his team, so he naturally is defensive about it.

It sucks, but that's reality.  And yes, a lot of people do have a submissive attitude in regards to government, forgetting that the government is supposed to comprised Of the people, to SERVE the people, not CONTROL the people.  We seem to be heading away from viewing government as public service, and moving towards viewing it as an aristocracy or a ruling class.  And nothing good will come of it.

It's the mentality built up over the years that anyone that stands against the government in the US, right or wrong is an enemy, which ironically goes against the values set in the constitution.

The first is covered by the whistleblower protection laws we have, second there is no proof that he did any harm to any US citizens or covert assets we where working with.

The whole thing can be viewed from multiple different perspectives.

He is somebody who was a traitor to his government, but was at the same time a whistle blower for his country. The point in being a whistle blower means to some degree... your going to have to betray your government in one way or another, otherwise your not a 'whistle-blower'. You cant exactly be a whistle-blower AND a person who is 'loyal' to said government in the first place; that being said, you can be somebody who is a whistle-blower AND somebody who is loyal to your country at the same time.


The question of ">Do you think Edward Snowden is a traitor?" really boils down to another more important question that needs to be answered prior, which is; "whose side are you really on? The government?... Or your country?"


But is there also a point that while he was not loyal to the current government, he is still loyal to the ideals of the government. As in they should be working for the people. Even though the current ones are clearly not and he is going against that, he is still working for the ideals of government.

I know he is still loyal to the hand-full of ideals his current government still has. But at the end of the day, it was the same government that considered the secrecy, law-breaking & mass-surveillance as just another 'ideal' for its people. What he did was the only way to expose such things. Which they still do to this day. He cant not whistle-blow on them because they do things he may still agree with.

I feel that, unless they stop with the bs, which they aren't; they cannot be trusted.

By being willing to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America by definition he cannot be a traitor. 

When I was in the military one of the things that was drilled into everyone was that you are held accountable to the Constitution first and foremost.

You could try the Socratic method of debating with them. Agree then find something they agree on that isn't consistent with the premise then keep picking at that. 

"Oh yeah totally a traitor .. what do you think about the fact that clapper lied to congress about all this? "

In my debates going through "proper channels" comes up. Oh yeah can bring up your bosses wrong doing with your boss. Err. Wait. And your bosses bosses boss is willing to lie to congress? Humm. 

He should come back and face the music? I dunno. Seems like there is a lot of opportunity to railroad him here because that's what happened in the weev case with embarrassing at and t.. So.. How's that work? Also this secret court business? Isn't that just a bit scary? Didn't we have something to say about secret courts at nuremburg not that long ago? 

You can't always convince someone Snowden is good but you can almost always get them to admit he's the guy who succeeded when those other three whistleblowers were totally railroaded trying to bring up the exact same stuff before Snowden.

Good idea. I have used this same method when debating the constitutionality of the death penalty with supporters of it. You know, the ones who yell "MURICA!" (I guess expressing their patriotism) then go on to say stupid things such as people should be executed for drug charges (yes there a lot of people that think this, especially down here below the good ole' bible belt). You then go on to ask them if they really support the constitution, since technically the government isn't supposed to have the right to take life. And on from there... you get it. I'm not even sure if you agree with that but that is beside the point.

The only point my neighbor gave me that supported his stance without being shady or dancing around the talking points was that he apparently knew people who were put in jeopardy by the Snowden leaks. Not people stateside, but operators overseas. A few of whom he claims are stationed alone in hostile regions, yada yada.

If this is true, then he needs to assess who he is really serving. The government or his country? I can see why he wouldn't want his colleagues in more danger than usual circumstances, but freedom of course has its trade-offs.  

The ex-army guy sounds like a "lifer", what do you expect from such a person?

As far as common citizens goes, propaganda is a helluva drug. I was having a conversation with an aunt of mine several months ago while she was visiting and I mentioned Snowden and my respect for him. She laughs and asks, "Isn't that the guy who sold state secrets to the Russian government."

I pulled a smh and told her no, he released the information to journalists. I think in a lot of cases like this it comes down to blindly accepting what you hear or read as fact, rather than verifying yourself. Obviously people who lack intelligence fall victim to this. However, my aunt is a very intelligent person, but how could her response be attributed to anything other than hearing those talking points spewed in the media and accepting it as fact?

I think the idea of thinking for yourself and questioning authority just doesn't register for a lot of people.


Well in the US (idk if you are from here or not) we are kinda nudged into the idea that the government knows what it is doing and is pretty much the end-all be-all of anything. At least it feels that way after going through almost 12 years now of public school here. And I'm sure the majority of people I go to school with think that way too, unfortunately. 

I think your confusing agency with government, he's upholding the constitution and laws regarding privacy by defying an agency employed by the government. NSA ≠ Government. A quick rule of hand, if it can disappear because of lack of funding it's probably not a central part of the government.

"By being willing to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America by definition he cannot be a traitor. "

Best quote right there.

The purpose of the government is to serve the people, it was said by the Founding Fathers, it is written in the Constitution's preamble, and it is repeated by the government trillions of times since the US was founded. Snowden was simply defending that ideal. The government is clearly not doing its job, they have a mass-surveillance program to spy on the people, for THEIR OWN GOODS! That's the problem right there, they're doing it for them, not for the people. 

Also, who the hell knows what they're hiding from the people, might be a different mass-surveillance program, might be some sort of mass destruction weapon developing, might be something that's completely bizarre and huge. Who knows

personally i stand behind what he did. quite frankly the government really shouldnt have been doing what they were doing to begin with. as wendell has said in numerous episodes of the tek, there is nothing that will ever beat good old fashion police work. sure, all this grab the data and store it for later is more conveniant, and a lot easier. but the quality is poor and its also shady in legality. overseas, old fashion police work is a bit more difficult. but quite frankly, they shouldnt be of interest to us unless they are a direct threat and by that i literally mean we are waiting for them to launch a damn attack against us. they are a waste of our money and resources. ex army guy is just spitting out what he was told by his old superiors. i have a fellow studnet here in uni who has a internship with the nsa. and he looks down on snowden while i look down on him. i dont trust him. none of us in the CSCI department here trust him after the snowden revelations.