Well it looks like the government finally went ahead and filed charges against Edward Snowden under the Espionage Act. To me, that’s good news, although I think the odds of the US ever getting its hands on Snowden again are vanishingly small. I’m pretty sure that Snowden will get to stay somewhere, whether it’s in China, Iceland, or Russia, where he is now. Putin made a sanctuary offer to Snowden. I’m pretty sure there are plenty of folks in Russia’s intelligence services that would love to sit down with Snowden and have a chat.
When I wrote about Snowden’s release of classified information a few weeks ago, I was reveling in the liberal hypocrisy that saw nothing wrong about these NSA programs, even though similar disclosures during the Bush era sent the left into a state of rage overload. But I shouldn’t have laughed so quickly. As more information about Snowden came out, the right began to anoint him a hero. How could the same people who (rightly) called Bradley Manning a criminal now call Snowden a hero and patriot?
Snowden violated his nondisclosure agreement, released classified documents to a foreign newspaper, and then promptly fled to Red China, where he revealed the extent of US spying on China, and then off to Russia. That sort of description usually describes a hero to the left, not the right. But I was pilloried on political forums for simply pointing out that Snowden betrayed his country…by the right.
That could have just been my own anecdotes that have no bearing on the national conversation, except the switcheroo is made clear in polling. More Democrats support the phone metadata program than Republicans.
That tracks pretty closely to whether Americans think Snowden was right or wrong to release information on the NSA programs. Democrats think Snowden was wrong by 49% to 39%. Republicans? They think Snowden was right 49% to 38%. Besides the embarrassment I have that most of the right now supports a traitor, it makes clear that for most people, they are supporting their team, not necessarily their principles. I’ve always prided myself on my consistency, but I didn’t really think I was that unique in being supportive of principals rather than whether the other guy was wearing a red shirt or a blue one.
I will have to reconsider that.