More Americans See Snowden As Whistle-Blowing Patriot Than Traitor
June 13, 2013 by Ben Bullard
A Reuters poll released Wednesday reveals more Americans look upon Edward Snowden, the former security contractor who leaked information about the National Security Administrationâ€™s PRISM Internet spying program to a British newspaper, as a patriot who did the right thing than as a traitor who deserves arrest.
The online survey asked 645 Americans three questions, with two pertaining to Snowdenâ€™s actions. One asked whether Snowden is a traitor or a patriot; the other whether he deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for leaking classified information he believed endangers Americansâ€™ freedoms. A third question sought Americansâ€™ opinion about the PRISM program itself.
According to the poll, 31 percent of Americans say Snowdenâ€™s a patriot, with 35 percent feeling he doesnâ€™t deserve to be prosecuted for sharing information about PRISM and other government surveillance dragnets with The Guardian. Only 23 percent said heâ€™s a traitor, with 25 percent saying he should be prosecuted. Another 46 percent reserved judgment on the matter of whether heâ€™s a traitor, with 40 percent saying they didnâ€™t know whether prosecution is in order.
When it comes to PRISM, 37 percent said itâ€™s completely unacceptable to indiscriminately and secretly spy on Americansâ€™ online activities by tapping in to major Internet service providersâ€™ servers without probable cause. Another 45 percent said such surveillance is warranted under certain circumstances. But only 6 percent said they didnâ€™t object to the program at all.