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Edward Snowden

While working as a contractor for the NSA at the dawn of the decade, Edward Snowden collected copious amounts of classified information from the agency. He felt what was taking place was illegal and the NSA had no right to continue some of their missions. So Snowden fled the agency and the country with laptops and folders full of documentation and evidence, and placed it all in the hands of journalists he could trust to publish what they deemed was important for Americans to know. Edward Snowden once underestimated the impact his leaks would have on the world, but now he exaggerates all the “good” he has done. He believes he should be credited and thanked for ending a program that allows the NSA to keep record of everyone’s phone numbers. He claims he did everything to help Americans and to stop tyranny within our government, but I view Edward Snowden as a traitor to our country who has had a mostly negative impact on our country, as depicted by David Fidler in his Newsweek article. He forced the NSA to end many programs that were extremely beneficial to our national security and had nothing to do with illegal practices within our country. He harshly strained relationships between the US and several countries after revealing some ways the US was gathering intelligence on its allies. He took matters into his own hands in the name of democracy, but in doing so he completely undermined the institutions we already have in place that are meant to protect exactly that.

I agree with Zachary Keck’s opinions expressed in The Diplomat that claim Snowden was very irresponsible in the way he made his leaks. Rather than give directed information to journalists, he instead gave them millions of top-secret documents for them to publish what they pleased. This is such a hazard to national security and Snowden showed he had no regard for anything other than getting his story out and being a hero. If he truly cared for this country, there was a way to help. We have a Judicial Branch in this country that exists for the purpose of checking all government practices against the Constitution. Snowden could have presented them with all the information of what was taking place and had them decide whether or not it was just. Even before that, he could have raised his concerns in one of his many face-to-face meetings with the chief officers of the NSA and at least hear their point of view before sabotaging their operations. I understand that Snowden was not comfortable with some of their practices, and that many Americans are not in favor of storing all phone conversations and information on the Internet. He is correct by saying we as Americans all have a right to know. But I never plan on doing anything that would warrant being spied on. And anyone who does have evil intentions would be deterred from communicating them with anyone electronically due to knowledge that they are being monitored. As far as I’m concerned, the NSA can conduct these practices at home and around the world in order to keep us safe, because I am willing to task the government with my security at the cost of my full privacy.

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