When thinking about the case of Edward Snowden, most people consider him a criminal who fled the country to avoid punishment, and that should he ever return he should be severely punished. However, some of the public believe that Snowden was doing his duty to his fellow citizens and was only trying to help reveal the crimes done against them. They believe that Snowden should have amnesty instead. Snowden showed that the NSA had been breaking into encryptions in order to access private information, which is a crime. Snowden also revealed that the NSA and James Clapper, Jr., director of national intelligence, both lied about accessing this information. Citizens believe that the government, should Snowden ever return, would add multiple charges onto his “crimes”, ensuring that he would be stuck in prison for the rest of his life. Both the government and the President say that Snowden could have gone about dealing with the information by becoming a “whistleblower” and reporting the information to his superiors, but citizens believe that this was the best way to reveal the information and expose the NSA’s crimes.
Whether or not Snowden should be considered a criminal is an interesting debate. On one hand he released classified information to the entire nation, violating federal law. On the other hand he was only revealing the NSA’s crimes and believed that doing the right thing was above the law. I believe that the verdict is different for everyone. Whether or not he is viewed as a criminal is due to people’s perception of him. The differing viewpoints that stakeholders have about Snowden’s crimes should be taken into account when trying to come up with a solution to the whole issue. How the public views Snowden is a key part to solving the issues that have occurred as a result of the reveal of the data.