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Edward Snowden: Whistleblower, Traitor or Both?

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Interestingly, Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski (MSNBC) was concerned with the illegality of Edward Snowden's actions; but just because something is legal does not make it morally right, and challenging an unjust law is still an act of civil disobedience. Civil disobedience is an American tradition where people of integrity stand up to and violate unjust laws. However, the violators must be prepared to face the consequences of their actions.

Edward Snowden did not indiscriminately leak millions of classified documents like Bradely Manning did. Snowden exposed two classified programs "PRISM" and "Meta-Data" which he believed are unlawful invasions of privacy.

Had Bradley Manning limited the scope of the information he leaked to only that which he deemed unlawful; he might be considered a whistleblower. But by cavalierly releasing nearly one million classified documents without regard to their legitimacy or not; Corporal Manning evidenced a reckless disregard for national security and the life-and-death consequences of his actions.

The concern for national security is important, but in addition to saving American lives we must also protect the American way of life. In the words of Thomas Paine, "Live free or die."

Snowden is following in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg is the dean of modern day whistleblowers, whose advocacy lead to ending the Vietnam War. Snowden's initial disclosures about Internet spying on American Citizens was an act of whistleblowing. "I can't allow the government to destroy our basic civil liberties."

Edward Snowden is a whistleblower; Bradley Manning is merely an informant. However his subsequent leaks about diplomatic spying are more problematic. Was this his attempt to defend himself from the government retaliation that is sure to come? Or are his subsequent leaks better described as vengeful payback and possible espionage?

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Michael McCray is a public interest advocate who combats racism and corruption in the government and other institutions which deprive individuals of their basic civil rights, human rights and constitutional liberties. McCray is co-chair of the (more...)
 

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Over the last seven years members from the Make i... by Michael McCray on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 5:32:38 AM
This will force me to revisit, in greater detail, ... by Rob Kall on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 5:35:31 AM
Hi Rob, this post will probably generate a goo... by Michael McCray on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 9:37:14 AM
way down this road and have given it much thought ... by Daniel Geery on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 11:26:49 AM
Hi Daniel, I generally agree with you and I believ... by Michael McCray on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 12:29:14 PM
when he stated that he became disillusioned and wa... by frang on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 2:51:17 PM
" Ironically, the liberal activism of Bradley Mann... by Jim Arnold on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 7:36:06 AM
Hi Jim, thanks for commenting. I realize that it i... by Michael McCray on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 9:26:48 AM
Aside from the definition of informant, activist, ... by Stefan Thiesen on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 8:43:39 AM
Hi Stefan, thanks for the comment. I am a whis... by Michael McCray on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 9:45:02 AM
"Do the means ever justify the end?"Yes. You don't... by Jim Arnold on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 11:29:51 AM
Thanks Jim, I actually messed that quote up... "do... by Michael McCray on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 12:33:01 PM
Hi Stefan, this is Poul :-) have you checked t... by Poul Gundersen on Friday, Jul 12, 2013 at 1:12:54 PM
I read your link. So anyone who has been effective... by Jim Arnold on Friday, Jul 12, 2013 at 9:07:07 PM
The information "informants" or "whistle blowers" ... by Rick Kincade on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 12:51:51 PM
Thanks Rick, I couldn't agree more. Effective advo... by Michael McCray on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 1:21:02 PM
It is about covering politicians, diplomats and in... by John Moffett on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 2:28:18 PM
Actually John, the point of my article was tha... by Michael McCray on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 4:37:13 PM
"Bradley Manning is similar to James O'Keefe and H... by Stephen Unger on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 2:45:29 PM
Hi Stephen, the point I was making was to dist... by Michael McCray on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 4:45:48 PM
I'm not sure what point you are trying to make and... by Paul Repstock on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 9:20:02 PM
Hi Paul, thanks for commenting. Your question ... by Michael McCray on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 7:48:05 AM
That telling the truth to the public should not be... by BFalcon on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 3:48:37 PM
Hi BFalcon, I'm more of a pragmatist about thi... by Michael McCray on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 4:50:38 PM
Prosecutorial discretion (to choose not to prosecu... by BFalcon on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 5:36:33 PM
BFalcon, I'm not an expert on National Securit... by Michael McCray on Saturday, Jul 13, 2013 at 10:49:17 AM
That they did not release it to the public but to ... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jul 13, 2013 at 1:11:05 PM
Who do we absolve? The prince who lies, and violat... by Jim Arnold on Friday, Jul 12, 2013 at 1:22:47 AM
By the way, there is an irony that those endangere... by BFalcon on Friday, Jul 12, 2013 at 7:08:28 AM
Michael,A common definition of whistleblowing is t... by Stephen Unger on Friday, Jul 12, 2013 at 4:53:41 PM
Mr. McCray wrote >"Bradley Manning is more of an a... by Paul Repstock on Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 at 11:55:49 PM
I agree with you Paul, that whistleblowers are... by Michael McCray on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 7:54:25 AM
That no soldier gives up the right not to follow a... by BFalcon on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 3:51:15 PM
Soldiers have a duty to refuse to carry out illega... by Richard Pietrasz on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 6:42:07 PM
I was born in Concord, MA, and, when we were kids,... by Bill Dugan on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 4:13:58 AM
Hi Bill, I agree with you that whistleblowing ... by Michael McCray on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 8:04:30 AM
Patriotism is dedication to be abused only by your... by BFalcon on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 3:52:54 PM
Thanks for commenting. ... by Michael McCray on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 4:52:27 PM
Just read your piece...And, I enjoyed seeing that ... by Vivian Wiggins on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 9:54:49 AM
Hi Vivian, thanks for commenting. You are abso... by Michael McCray on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 10:59:06 AM
is still protected.... by BFalcon on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 3:54:26 PM
Hi BFalcon, I agree that the First Amendment p... by Michael McCray on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 4:59:20 PM
I find the author McCray's emphasis on who is a wh... by Richard Pietrasz on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 7:02:43 PM
Richard, you know nothing about me. First, I d... by Michael McCray on Saturday, Jul 13, 2013 at 11:09:52 AM
You are correct I know little about you, since all... by Richard Pietrasz on Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 2:40:24 PM