Leahy said he "did not condone the way these and other highly-classifeid programs have been disclosed," but in the same breath condemned the program as useless as a needless invasion of Americans' privacy.

Mondale noted that the Church Committee specifically avoided creating an "Official Secrets Act," explained the reform would not happen without public disclosure, and spoke of the necessity of "one courageous reporter," conspicuously omitting that journalists would not have anything to report without whistleblowers like Snowden.

Johnson expounded on the problem that Congressional oversight is too responsive to newspaper reports, reports that would not exist without whistleblowers like Snowden.

As with all whistleblowers, the focus should be on the message and not the messenger. The focus should be on NSA's lawbreaking, but to take advantage of the message while disparaging the messenger is disingenuous at best. If government officials truly welcome  public disclosure and debate about NSA's unlawful surveillance, then they should welcome the reason we are talking about NSA: the whistleblower Snowden.