Frank Marchant: Chalk One More Up for "Traitor"
Most of the time the person for whom the word describes can be both!
Personal analysis of whether any person is a traitor or hero depends on the side from where you are viewing the individuals' deed.
Because that side of the issue, where your sympathy lies, is not only where you will find your answer, it's also where you will find to whom or what your own allegiance is pledged.
Benedict Arnold, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Jane Fonda, and even Robert Hanssen were all heroes somewhere!
Let me refresh your memory:
Benedict Arnold, If you were raised on this side of the pond Arnold is synonymous with disloyalty and to many treason!
In England Arnold is a hero. The church where Arnold was buried, St Mary's Church Battersea, England, has a tribute to him in a stained glass window.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed under Section 2 of the Espionage Act for passing secrets of the US construction of the atomic bomb to Russia. Both considered Russian heroes.
Jane Fonda, North Vietnamese sympathizer who during the height of the war traveled to N. Vietnam and said, "Captured Americans who say they are being tortured by the N. Vietnam, military are liars!"
No statues anywhere for Fonda other than a star on the, "walk of fame" in Hollywood! For the record Jane has said, "she's sorry!"( No statue in N. Vietnam)
Robert Hanssen is the former FBI agent who for 22 years spied for the Soviet Union. Now spending 24 hours alone daily in his maximum security cell in a "Supermax" prison for life, without parole. Considered by many to be the worst intelligence disaster in US history. The Russian KGB is kind of fond of him.
That brings us up to Edward Snowden.....
Before I could pass judgment on this young man I needed to assemble some facts.
Firstly, the definition of the word from several dictionaries:
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary: Traitor,
a person who changes to the enemy's side or gives away information to the enemy. He was a traitor to his country.
Merriam - Webster Dictionary: TRAITOR,
one who betrays another's trust or is false to an obligation or duty.
Cambridge Dictionary: Traitor,
A personwho gives away or sells secretsof his or her country, or someone not loyal to particular beliefs or friends.
Oxford Dictionary: Traitor,
A person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc.: they see me as a traitor, a sellout to the enemy
Second, I need to examine what Snowden has done:
Edward Snowden took a job for less pay than the job he held to work at the NSA. His reasons for this are only known to him.
According to released evidence, Snowden using "thumb drives," recorded information above his pay level without the express permission of his employer. He then removed the same from his office again without permission.
Snowden then transported himself and the information he was not to have had and flew to Hong Kong. When he arrived he shared top secret, classified documents with the world via Wikileaks and Julian Assange.
If Edward Snowden worked for a company and stole secrets it would be wrong. Stealing corporate secrets, like stealing money, is wrong. I believe the same thing holds true when someone works for the government; taking something that does not belong to you for whatever purpose is wrong.
Yes, I hear the argument that he is an American citizen and the NSA works
for the people. Or, it's supposed to.
Yes he did!
Did Edward Snowden, betray a friend, country or principle?
Again, Yes he did!
Did Edward Snowden, change to the enemy's side or give away information to the enemy.
Once again, Yes he did!
Greg Madison: Edward Snowden Ought to Be Protected - and Heard
Edward Snowden left behind a $200,000 a year job, a beautiful girlfriend, and life in Hawaii to bring us the truth about the scope of the National Security Agency's spying... on their fellow Americans.
For this alone, Edward Snowden deserves to be afforded protected, whistleblower status.
Despite my colleague Frank Marchant's arguments to the contrary - and his instinct to lock up everyone under the age of 30!
Snowden may not have told us anything we hadn't already suspected from the odd 60 Minutes story, or internet rumor, but the fact remains that this man walked out of his position, deep within the Secret Machine, to tell the world about what was happening.
Edward Snowden left everything behind to bring us news from the front lines of the Secret War. This war has casualties all over the world, in manifestly different ways.
Edward Snowden worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, contracted with the NSA, right in the belly of The Beast. He saw the ongoing outrages being perpetrated right before his eyes.
He knew what this meant for our society. And he knew the consequences of betraying these dark secrets, bringing them to the light of day.
And he did it anyway.
Nowadays, Edward Snowden is (apparently) holed up in the transit area of the Novotel at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport. He exists in a no-man's land.
Not strictly on Russian soil, under tight security, with his movement severely restricted. Any food he eats is, well, airport hotel food.
The Associated Press sent News Director Ian Philips to the Novotel to get a glimpse of Snowden, and to report on the conditions he's living in now.
Snowden's room costs $300 per night. The room's windows are double-paned security glass, looking out over an unpretty barbed wire vista. He may be allowed to smoke once per hour for five minutes at a time - if airport security is feeling charitable... Though for Russians to keep a man from his tobacco is all but unthinkable.
A salad will cost $20. A bottle of wine, $80. A ribeye steak, $50. As Ian Phillips reported, Edward Snowden is most definitely not living the life of an international super spy.
He's extremely unlikely to see his family, his loved ones, or even set foot on American soil... ever again. All because he threw a wrench into the Secret Machine.
Stateless since the State Department annulled his passport, he's now desperately soliciting offers of asylum from other countries. Europe is out of bounds to him, due to the influence of our government there... and the European security services' own complicity in these outrages. The most likely countries to make the offer will be in South America.
And to say he gave information, aid, or comfort to the enemy is nonsense. He told us. He revealed the true extent of the government's illegal spying to us.
That the world was watching, and saw the System's embarrassment, is incidental. He performed a service for his people.
At one time, a service for government may have been a service to the people... But those days are over, gone even since before the USA PATRIOT Act was signed into law.
But then again, if I'm honest, I might feel differently if I believed Edward Snowden might, on returning to the United States, be given a speedy, public trial by a jury of his peers.
What a concept! That's probably too much to expect during the Secret Wars.
I always believed that in the United States, even a werewolf was entitled to legal counsel and a trial by light of day. To keep anyoneaccused of a crime locked away, incommunicado, before a closed trial, should be abhorrent to American sensibilities.
Edward Snowden should be afforded the same protections that we give to those brave individuals who expose harassment, corruption, and other criminal activities. He should be able to tell us what he knows in a public forum, without fear of arrest - or worse.
Do I have faith that this will happen. Well, no. That lack of faith I spoke about runs two ways, thanks to the Secret Machine and its Secret Wars.
Now that you've seen all the punches flying, it's time to turn in your scorecard.