Hero or Traitor? Politicians, Pundits and Personalities React to NSA "Whistleblower"
Lawmakers across both parties are voicing their concerns over the many moving parts of the recent revelations that the NSA collected phone and computer data of millions of Americans. Over the weekend, the man responsible for the controversial data-mining leak was identified, telling his story to the UK's The Guardian in a video interview. Twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden remains hunkered down in a Hong Kong hotel room, where he fled after deciding to reveal what he knew about covert operations at the government agency where he worked.
If there's one question being asked across all forms of media today, however, it is this: is Edward Snowden a hero, or a traitor?
We gathered some of the reactions we've gotten so far from on-air interviews, as well as tweets from notable politicians and Fox News contributors. See where these folks fall on the debate, and let us know what YOU think -- leave us a comment at the bottom of this post.
Recap of the Full Story:
"If Edward Snowden did in fact leak the NSA data as he claims, the United States government must prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law and begin extradition proceedings at the earliest date. The United States must make it clear that no country should be granting this individual asylum. This is a matter of extraordinary consequence to American intelligence."
- Congressman Peter King, Chairman, Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterintelligence & Terrorism, Member of Select Committee on Intelligence
u surprised? guy Snowden's age and w/ his resume is privy to classified info?
— Greta Van Susteren (@gretawire) June 10, 2013
"We're talking about trolling through billions of phone records. We're not talking about going after a terrorist - I'm all for that. Get a warrant. Go after a terrorist or a murderer, or a rapist, but don't troll through a billion phone records every day. That is unconstitutional. It invades our privacy, and I'm going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I'm going to be asking all the internet providers and all of the phone companies, ask your customers to join me in a class action lawsuit. If we get 10 million Americans saying, 'we don't want our phone records looked at,' then maybe somebody will wake up and things will change in Washington.
if the NSA prism program is so good, why the hell did a YouTube video get blamed for Benghazi?
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) June 7, 2013
"The Department of Justice is in the initial stages of an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information by an individual with authorized access. Consistent with long standing Department policy and procedure and in order to protect the integrity of the investigation, we must decline further comment."
- Statement on the Unauthorized Disclosure of Classified Information Attributable to Nanda Chitre, Department of Justice Spokeswoman
"Taking a very sensitive, classified program that targets foreign persons on foreign lands and putting just enough out there to be dangerous is dangerous to us, it's dangerous for national security, and it violates the oath that person took, and I absolutely think they should be prosecuted."
- Rep. Mike Rogers, (R-MI), House Intelligence Committee Chairman in ABC / "This Week" Interview
Democrats, republicans and libertarians can all agree that NSA surveillance harms us all. This is not a partisan issue. Support #Snowden
— Anonymous (@AnonyOps) June 9, 2013
How do you feel about the #NSA collection of data on American's?No big deal, or are you concerned about a big, Federal babysitter?
— Bill Hemmer (@BillHemmer) June 10, 2013
— Greta Van Susteren (@gretawire) June 10, 2013
"I call [Edward Snowden] a whistleblower ... it's an extraordinary act of civil disobedience."
- Tom Drake, Former NSA Employee and Whistleblower in Interview on America's Newsroom
In digital era, privacy must be a priority. Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous? ow.ly/lKS13
— Al Gore (@algore) June 6, 2013
Some of you don't get it. Verizon is not the issue. It's Obama's utter lack of natl security cred.
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) June 6, 2013
"We want to protect our civil liberties ... but there is a fine line here that we need to have greater accountability and greater transparency, and I think there are going to be a lot of questions asked..." McCarthy went on to say that he has "a real problem" with the NSA's reach. When asked if Snowden is a "whistleblower," or whether he should be prosecuted, McCarthy said, "I would prosecute. If you're a whistleblower, you don't leave the United States. You don't go to a communist country. If you have grave concerns, then come before Congress..."
During an appearance on Studio B, Judge Andrew Napolitano called NSA leaker Edward Snowden an “American hero,” who was “willing to risk life, limb, and liberty in order to expose to the American people one of the most extraordinary violations of the American principles, value judgments, and the Constitution itself.” (WATCH THE INTERVIEW BELOW:)
- Judge Andrew Napolitano in Interview on Studio B.