According to Snowden’s father, that is.
Snowden’s father, Lonnie Snowden, said the following:
“He has in fact broken U.S. law, in a sense that he has released classified information. And if folks want to classify him as a traitor, in fact he has betrayed his government. But I don’t believe that he’s betrayed the people of the United States.”
Julian Assange describes Snowden as a hero. The journalist asking Assange these questions (George Stephanopoulos) is clearly and somewhat annoyingly biased against Assange (and another guest on the show). Over and over again, the questions are meant to trap the interviewees, contradict them, or embarrass them. Assange does a great job of maintaining his equanimity. He also evades the questions and stays on track with his talking points (whether this is a good thing or not depends on one’s personal bias, but it’s certainly a good move rhetorically).
I find myself undecided on whether Snowden or Assange are heroes or loose cannons, friends or foes, whistleblowers or traitors. Certainly in Snowden’s case I have no doubt of his motives (he took great personal risk to do what he felt was the right thing, and I believe his sincerity). I have more doubt about Assange (I don’t trust his sincerity, though I concede his line of work involves considerable personal risk).
More importantly, it’s worth asking if the world would be a better place without Snowden, Assange, et al. I’m not convinced it would be, nor am I convinced that our safely would be enhanced if everyone fell into line with an increasingly Big Brother-ish national security state, nor am I convinced that these massive surveillance programs are our best allocation of (finite) resources to fight transnational terrorist organizations.