So Michael Moore and Glenn Beck, who probably wouldn’t agree that today is Monday, are both calling Edward Snowden a hero, while Donald Trump says he’s a bad guy.
Over at the White House petition site, tens of thousands have signed a petition asking that Snowden be given a full pardon. But only five of the 41 slides in the PRISM PowerPoint Snowden wanted released have been made public. Would these people feel the same way if they saw the rest of the slides? Apparently neither the Washington Post nor the Guardian believed that publishing those slides was a wise thing to do.
Just as it’s impossible to figure out the merits of our current surveillance programs without more information, I feel the same about judging Snowden. I know I don’t feel comfortable signing that White House petition, but I wouldn’t sign one calling him a traitor either.
A couple of things jump out at me. First, that he went to Hong Kong. Hong Kong may be China with benefits, but it’s still, you know, China. Second, that he didn’t finish high school. Look, if you want to drop out of Harvard and start a company, go for it. I just feel bad for the poor schmuck on the waiting list who would have appreciated your slot. But finishing high school is kind of a minimum attainment in our society. Even if you’re some brilliant computer geek, you sit there and get your credits and finish. That unwillingness to finish high school tells me he sees himself as different, as superior, as not subject to the same rules as the rest of us. Perhaps someone who should not have had a security clearance in the first place. Working in anti-terrorism requires creativity, but it also requires a degree of conformity that Snowden clearly lacks.