Pro:

Edward Snowden, an American computer specialist, former Central Intelligence Agency employee and former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed a large number of top secret National Security Agency (NSA) documents to the media has been called a hero, a whistleblower, a dissident, a traitor and a patriot.

Because Snowden had the courage to shine a light on the NSA’s efforts to spy on American citizens, hero is the appropriate word.  He has done the public a great service by uncovering the massive scale of the U.S. government’s surveillance on American citizens and others around the world.

He has not done any real damage to the NSA’s ability to do its job and keep America safe. The NSA was using technology to keep American citizens safe, relying on machines rather than people. Snowden has exposed critical information, not causing any harm to the national security of the country.

It rings an alarm when companies intentionally keep information from the public about questionable activities they have been taking part in. Snowden played a valuable role which should be weighed against the potential harm that could have taken place.

By revealing that our government was spying, Snowden leaked valuable information to other countries. This caused some of our allies to lose trust in the United States. However, the leaked information is insignificant when compared to the service Snowden did for our country.

Snowden has carried out a great public service by unearthing the gap between government practices and American beliefs. Citizens should be looking to him as a hero for bringing light to illegal government activities.

by Sarah Wentzel

Con:

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has successfully sought asylum in Russia after leaking top-secret government documents about our nation’s security programs. Although government officials deny ever allowing him to possess such sensitive material, Snowden claims to have had access to these documents through his position as a government contractor.

The scandal has created outrage on both sides, and while Snowden claims to be a patriot, others are crying treason.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, is among those.

“Americans are at risk. It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are and it’s a giant violation of the law,” Boehner said of Snowden’s release of confidential government documents to the media.

In 2013 Snowden gave sensitive documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post before fleeing the country.

“I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building,” Snowden said.

As noble as this may sound, he failed to mention that he betrayed a sworn oath to the United States.Rather than taking responsibility for his actions, he is taking asylum.

In the eyes of some U.S. citizens, Snowden is a hero. However, he jeopardized the safety of his home country. Additionally, the restriction of U.S. government activities that occurs in response to public outrage could deter the measures taken to protect the country from terrorist activities.

Snowden is little more than a traitorous individual who is willing to do whatever necessary to protect himself and avoid taking responsibility for his actions.

by Austin Woodard

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