Edward Snowden Is Not A Hero

A new documentary, “Citizenfour,” which is all of a sudden the frontrunner for Oscar, is about to be released. It brings Edward Snowden back to the center of media attention. I have mixed feelings about all this. I have no desire to defend the NSA at all. But I don’t think the NSA’s whistleblower, Mr. Snowden, is any kind of hero. I mean, this supposed champion of freedom (of information, of expression) is living in the land of the Sissy Dictator (Vladimir Putin). A bit like former spy-traitors Burgess, Philby, Maclean, from the Cold War period, did. And just as they served valuably to point up the hypocrisy of the West at the time, so does Snowden serve to point up the hypocrisy (violence in the name of liberation) of American foreign policy and the heinousness of snooping on American citizens. But Snowden and his predecessors all end up, tacitly or directly, as apologists for a system that’s just as bad — the Russian one.

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