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More Americans See Snowden As Whistle-Blowing Patriot Than Traitor

June 13, 2013 by  

A Reuters poll released Wednesday reveals more Americans look upon Edward Snowden, the former security contractor who leaked information about the National Security Administration’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 Snowden’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 Americans’ freedoms. A third question sought Americans’ opinion about the PRISM program itself.

According to the poll, 31 percent of Americans say Snowden’s a patriot, with 35 percent feeling he doesn’t deserve to be prosecuted for sharing information about PRISM and other government surveillance dragnets with The Guardian. Only 23 percent said he’s a traitor, with 25 percent saying he should be prosecuted. Another 46 percent reserved judgment on the matter of whether he’s a traitor, with 40 percent saying they didn’t know whether prosecution is in order.

When it comes to PRISM, 37 percent said it’s completely unacceptable to indiscriminately and secretly spy on Americans’ online activities by tapping in to major Internet service providers’ servers without probable cause. Another 45 percent said such surveillance is warranted under certain circumstances. But only 6 percent said they didn’t object to the program at all.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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