In what conceivable sense are Snowden’s actions “espionage”? He could have – but chose not – sold the information he had to a foreign intelligence service for vast sums of money, or covertly passed it to one of America’s enemies, or worked at the direction of a foreign government. That is espionage. He did none of those things.
What he did instead was give up his life of career stability and economic prosperity, living with his long-time girlfriend in Hawaii, in order to inform his fellow citizens (both in America and around the world) of what the US government and its allies are doing to them and their privacy. He did that by very carefully selecting which documents he thought should be disclosed and concealed, then gave them to a newspaper with a team of editors and journalists and repeatedly insisted that journalistic judgments be exercised about which of those documents should be published in the public interest and which should be withheld.
That’s what every single whistleblower and source for investigative journalism, in every case, does – by definition. In what conceivable sense does that merit felony charges under the Espionage Act?
Here’s how I see present events. The Bush-Obama Security Scheme knows that, because of our First Amendment, a direct attack upon our free press will fail. The One Percent (remember them?) have chosen instead to expand their decades-long political strategy of starving the beast, to include all media that they can not buy outright and corporatize, and cut off not tax funds but information sources not under the direction of the One Percent.
Edward Snowden is simply the latest example of this blatant, and anti-democratic strategy.
In 1971, I was fascinated by Daniel Ellsberg’s bravery and subsequent fight. More importantly, I was awed by the manner that both the Washington Post and the New York Times stood their ground and prevailed against then President Richard Nixon. That the man who ought to go down in history for his vision will instead be most remembered for out tricking Tricky Dicky, is tragic. No amount of speeches on global warming will help; Nixon, after all gave us the Environmental Protection Agency.
I fear for my country and I know not how to protect her.