Ever since whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked information about the National Security Agency’s widespread — possibly illegal, even criminal — program of data collection and spying, we’ve heard a lot about possibly the least important question raised by the event: Whether Snowden is a good person or not.
My own take is that nobody knows. In fact, Snowden himself may not know the full context or ramifications of his actions. But it also doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that the Snowden affair occurs in the context of an unprecedented administration war on whistleblowers. And that’s a bad idea because whistleblowing is one of the things that maintains the legitimacy of a government as big, and otherwise unaccountable, as ours.
I also don’t buy into impugning Snowden’s character due to his choice of places where he has had to hide from US prosecution. Where else is he to go? Additionally, the fact that there have been other leakers who have been silenced by the very same gang of government suspects is a great big mitigating factor in how Snowden chose to go about bringing his information to the public. He deserves a pardon, and immunity so that he can testify to us all and tell the entire story. We could certainly do without all of the international intrigue and game playing.