The Water Cooler – Edward Snowden – Hero or Traitor?

July 2, 2013 12:00 pm · 79 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday in the noon hour.

NSA information leaker Edward Snowden: Hero or Traitor?

Talk about it….

The Professor July 2, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Traitor. When you take a vow of secrecy and then divulge the secret…. you are a traitor.

Anon777 July 2, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Not sure Hero is the right word, but thank goodness for people like this because our own government is sneaky and we need whistle blowers to keep them line.

Killjoy July 2, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Traitor. I’m sure all my bleeding heart sisters-in-law would argue that point with me though.

Noj July 2, 2013 at 12:11 PM


Bob the Repairman July 2, 2013 at 12:14 PM

TRAITOR!!!! People seem to forget that information given to the wrong people is bad and could cause bodily harm – mainly Americans through out the world.

ClayDen July 2, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Traitor; he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The problem is not with the system he exposed. We should be upset if there weren’t such a system. The real criminals are the ones misusing it to spy on the general public for what appear to be political reasons and not national security.

Atticus Thraxx July 2, 2013 at 12:18 PM


Howard K Mullins III July 2, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Too soon to tell.

ms.v July 2, 2013 at 12:23 PM

If people believe that in this day and age our government does not need to gather intelligence then your are blind and ignorant. And..if you don’t think stuff like this has been going on for decades than you are blind and stupid. How do you think they have stopped attacks before they happen. Lucky guesses? No. Come out of your little bubbles people. The world is no longer a safe place.

I have nothing to hide so they can listen to me and watch me all they want.
I will invite them to my house.

I agree 100% with The Professor…TRAITOR..He needs to be held accountable

anonyspouse July 2, 2013 at 12:25 PM

It’s a fine line, and it might be too early to say. This might be one of those events that will be better understood and evaluated through the lens of history.

But that’s not what really matters. What matters is the substance of what he revealed and whether it fits the legal structure, i.e., what exactly is the scope of the NSA’s activities, on whose authority was it done, and is it legal? Is it in fact, as it is claimed, grounded in the Patriot Act (the Constitutionality of the Patriot Act being another issue altogether), or is it based on an overly wide interpretation? These are some of the things we have to work out before it can be determined what we think of the person who brought this all to light. Until then, the labeling of Snowden as hero or patriot or traitor is a distraction.

TruthMan July 2, 2013 at 12:25 PM

He’s a traitor for sharing the info with our enemies

KJ July 2, 2013 at 12:26 PM

In a democracy citizens need to be informed about what their government is doing, especially when it’s doing something wrong. Isn’t that the whole point of a free press (the First Amendment). It’s unfortunate that American reporters and media have become so timid, but I suppose that was to be expected once they started to be targeted by the government for doing their job.

Triple Canopy July 2, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Both. But “Hero” isn’t the right word. I’d say, morally responsible. However, his revealing details has revealed the NSA’s methodology and will leave national intelligence at a disadvantage… That, in the national interest, is unethical.

Oblamer and Buckethead Biden are totally spineless when dealing with Russia, Ecuador, and Venezuela and that is the result of reducing the US influence abroad. Oblamer will probably go on another apology tour don’t you think?

Assad crossed “the red line” in using chemical weapons. VERIFIED. But what has Oblamer done in response. NOTHING… unless you want to calll giving small arms to the Al Queda-affiliated rebels a “progressive” move.

Doggie Dad July 2, 2013 at 12:32 PM

I think it’s complicated. Had he gone to a sympathetic Senator, or even a US media outlet, despite breaking his oath I think he would lean more on the hero side. But he didn’t do that. He chose to go to rival, arguably hostile nations.

You don’t just show up and say “hey, I’ve got some extremely valuable top secret information and I’m hiding from my own government, can you give me safe harbor?” without divulging at least some of what you have. So by fleeing to China, and now Russia, he chose to be a traitor and must be treated as such.

So far....... July 2, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Hero. No question.

Schmee July 2, 2013 at 12:33 PM


Parsnip July 2, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Absolutely a traitor. If you feel the need to whistle blow, go to the appropriate sources, unless you feel disclosure would be a threat to you. Then consult with an attorney.

But to CHINA? Boy, you are D-U-M-B!

JLG July 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Hero or Traitor? As time goes by seems like more of a Traitor. Getting a job with the express reason to take Top Secret information is a lot different than a person who comes across something so bad they must reveal it no mater the personal cost to themselves. Stay and face the music if you have a conscience.

Lose Lips Sink Ships July 2, 2013 at 12:37 PM

If this was back in WWII, he would be taken out before a firing squad for Treason, and shot.

In time of “peace” many people become idealistic, hoping for the utopian society.

I have news: we are at war.

Yes, the government has spied on us. They keep secrets. Ever hear of the Manhattan Project? Ethel and Julius Rosenberg?

J. July 2, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Prosecutable Hero.

Concernicus July 2, 2013 at 12:46 PM

both. he betrayed the government, but he did it for his country.

Antler July 2, 2013 at 12:46 PM

TRAITOR. ……..and I hope no-one buys the book he obviously is planning.

funny guy July 2, 2013 at 12:52 PM

so all you ppl calling him a traitor, would than have no problem with the government installing cameras in your home? i mean after all you have nothing to hide? how is that much different than monitoring all your online behavior and telephone calls and credit card records and soon enuf GPS on your car (but of course it will only be for insurance/registration purposes)?

exposing egregious violations of our constitution (even if they pass a “law” saying they can do it and making secret courts for “overview”) makes him a traitor?
More likely everyone in the government (covering their ass) and every citizen (brainwashed & parroting foxnews) calling him a traitor … they are the real traitors to the word and intent our Constitution.

Sounds like alot of ppl here failed 8th grade Civics & Government class… have anyone of yu even read the constitution?

funny guy July 2, 2013 at 12:57 PM

so he’s going to whistleblow to the same senators that approved the secret programs against the citizens?
NSA methodolgy leaving national intelligence (oxymoron) at a disadvantage? you realize very few citizens are actual terrorists? they should and do tap all that information of foreign countries, how does it help ‘national intelligence’ to spy on every single american?

Let's Go Oakland July 2, 2013 at 1:07 PM

@21 Right on the money

@22 I would totally buy that book.

stan July 2, 2013 at 1:07 PM

If the liberal media would do its job, we wouldn’t need people to blow the whistle, but since there is no sign of that ever happening we need a hero like him to expose the truth about our out of control government. If anyone is a traitor it’s our president, just look at his friends in Egypt that he is giving aid to. The Muslim brotherhood

Em Dubya July 2, 2013 at 1:17 PM

I agree with ClayDen, further adding that our Founding Fathers wrote the Fourth Amendment largely based on British soldiers being able to write their own generalized search warrants based on nonspecific suspicions and then go search the homes of colonials for anything at any time.

Irrespective of the legislation “excusing” the NSA’s domestic spying, it is in gross violation of the Fourth Amendment – even in the tatters that Justice Rhenquist has left it in.

If you have the well being of American citizens at heart, you don’t hide in China, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, etc.

Anonymous July 2, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Traitor: send in the armed drones.

hmm July 2, 2013 at 1:19 PM

A hero without a doubt. He’s proved that our government is violating the constitution, violating our rights, and violating international law. Sure, most people “knew” this was happening, but without proof we cannot hold anyone accountable. Bush and Obama have both claimed that this leak has put our country in danger but neither of them have been able to provide a single reason as to why having informed citizens is dangerous for our society.

Connie Dobbs July 2, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Neither. Pointing out what should be obvious to anyone who’s used a search engine more than twice is not heroic. Those who think he ought to be shot for that are precisely the people that should be monitored.

Batman July 2, 2013 at 1:28 PM


Drive Sober July 2, 2013 at 1:40 PM

A martyr because he essentially gave up his life for this whether he comes back and faces charges or not. We needed to know the news as American citizens yet I agree the transparency to the world, other countries, our enemies need not know our business!

Greg Kleven July 2, 2013 at 1:42 PM

He’s an honest man with a conscience. He’s a patriot.

Formeremployee July 2, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Hero. Look how many people had access to this information and were too afraid to do anything but keep it to themselves. A hero puts themselves in harms way to help others. Snowden destroyed his life for his American people. Absolutely a hero

Stater of the Obvious July 2, 2013 at 1:48 PM

He’s a fool.

Opinion July 2, 2013 at 1:50 PM

He’s a traitor, and I’m your perfect example of a bleeding heart liberal.
He only worked there 3 weeks folks. We need security for our country, and this clown needs to be taken from Russia and flown back here and prosecuted. I’m sure they’ll nab him when he least expects it.

RK July 2, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Traitor, he has no moral ethics, he tried to destroy his country’s image by running away like a rat and then created unnecessary controversy. If you have a problem at home, you don’t runaway from home and make everyone look bad at home but resolve the situation intelligently.

mike July 2, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Huge Traitor…since the Revolutionary war, we spy on the enemy, they spy on us. That’s how we get info. If anybody believed that the govt wasn’t activing covertly, then they have something wrong with them.
Bush does it and we have congressional hearings (patriot act, etc) Obama does it and it’s not that big of a deal.
SNowden had a job and he breached that job (imagine if you “stole” from your employer??)
Russia, China, and 19 other countries don’t want him Even Putin said you can stay, but stop spying on the USA
He’s a scumbag who should be tried and put in a nice prision cell next to that scumbag Bradley Manning.
Imagine the number of people around the world who were compromised because this dirtbag exposed secrets!

Anon for this July 2, 2013 at 2:01 PM

For security reasons, I chose not to comment on this one. I don’t want the government to start tracking, or rather, increase surveilance on my online activity or worse, be audited by the IRS.

Jojo Potato July 2, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Consider this, governnent employees go on strike and cause untold monetary loss to citizens. Or a governnment employee goes public to reveal amazing breaches of privacy against the rules of the constitution.

Which is worse? The BART workers do it for simple greed, or Snowden does it because of his belief that it’s the right thing to do? I respect and support Snowden, the BART workers can pound sand!

American July 2, 2013 at 2:13 PM

He is an American Patriot. No more, no less. He saw something wrong, AGAINST our Constitution (anyone remember that document anymore?) and did what any patriot should do.

For those that are calling him a traitor, please leave our country.

Dorothy July 2, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Maybe both or neither. He knew he had to give up everything to blow the whistle and did it anyhow. Maybe we actually need more whistle blowers.

escapehatch July 2, 2013 at 2:29 PM

It is SO EXPENSIVE. He made as much as a BART employee.

Idiocracy July 2, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Public execution!

Never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut!

The Theorist July 2, 2013 at 2:39 PM

This press release from the Department of Motherland Security newly formed Division of Truth:

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength.

Carry on, comrades.

Rob July 2, 2013 at 2:39 PM


Tonto July 2, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Bullet to the back of the head and charge the family for the shell.

PH Fan July 2, 2013 at 2:57 PM


liberty lover July 2, 2013 at 3:03 PM

A true PATRIOT!!!

Well... July 2, 2013 at 3:05 PM

He’s a traitor. Plain and simple. He never should have stolen classified documents and handed them over to foreign countries.

Our nation is being spied on all the time. It is proven fact that China is spying on us. They know which building the hackers are in. They know our military warfare secrets. Do you think it’s coincidence that China’s military planes look just like ours? No.

What about all those Russian spies that were recently sent back to Russia?

And if you lowly common folk think that the gov’t cares about your day to day lives, you are mistaken. You are not being watched!

Lake July 2, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Obviously he thought he was smart enough to pull this off and ended up being a man without a country stuck in limbo and labelled a traitor.

CatWoman July 2, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Traitor! Definite Traitor!

100% American Here July 2, 2013 at 3:28 PM

He violated terms of his employment. Period. He took an oath as part of his security clearance to not reveal what he had access to – whether it was right or wrong. He had a job to do for our country and he violated the trust that our government put in him.

He is a traitor, not a hero.

Whether he agreed with it or not, he is in the wrong. If he was concerned, he should have followed internal protocols to address his concern. To claim he is a whistleblower – no, he is someone who could not handle his job. There is no comparison to BART workers, being a Patriot, or any other decent person.

He is a traitor who let every US Citizen down.

When you join the military, you take an oath that you are agreeing to fight wars and protect our country. When you get involved in military contracts and obtain your security clearance, you take an oath to protect our national secrets. He violated his oath just as a soldier in the battlefield who does not pull the trigger violates his oath.

I’ll gladly stay in our country as I believe our government is taking steps to protect our long term rights to a democracy. Without things like PRISM, we’d be just another Iraq, Iran, Israel, Egypt.

mortimer July 2, 2013 at 3:32 PM

A human being….Not a traitor….He revealed a wrong for us average Joe’s…It will be interesting to see how sneaky our government will go to sniff or snuff Eric out…Most of you are probably Rambo fans but when it comes to the real truth, you all are nothing but a bunchof pussy cats…

JB July 2, 2013 at 3:56 PM

I believe James Madison would agree with my opinion of Mr. Snowden, a HERO and a PATRIOT.
“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land,
it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
by: James Madison
(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President

I was born free and expect to live and die free. If I’m being spied on by my own country I am not free. I have nothing to hide but living in fear of someone misinterpreting a comment, taking something out of context, or just some fool on a power trip is not freedom. Put another way:

If I was an eagle, I’d dress like a duck
Crawl like a lizard and honk like a truck
If I get a notion I’ll climb this tree
Or chop it down and you can’t stop me

Get it people? Don’t give them an inch no matter how afraid they tell you you should be.

Subterfuge July 2, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Both. He did fine until he started talking about NSA’s overseas operations.

Random Task July 2, 2013 at 4:21 PM

the way he did it was wrong and he should be charged if you want to be taken serious then be an adult not a media hound ….he is a joke and should be charged …now seeking asylum he is a traitor and a liar and a thief ……….all things end up well for scum …that’s why they call it scum…..right

Random Task July 2, 2013 at 4:24 PM

actually snowden …snow…den …obvious spy name as long as the dems cut defense we will be a target of spies all over the world and when they get enough info they will take the U.S. down and then you dems will get a good look at all your hard work …as we are taken over by communist china …revel in your glory dems you’ve earned it

Not to bright July 2, 2013 at 5:00 PM

your not to bright if you think Snowden is a hero, people like this can really put Americans at risk, I guess if your communist than you look up to people like this. I take it you also think the traitor Bradly Manning is a hero also.

Not So Anon July 2, 2013 at 5:05 PM

No comment, I don’t need any government agency at my house because I said something they didn’t like.

Watergate July 2, 2013 at 5:30 PM

He is a traitor to the most corrupt government in American history. He’s a hero to the people of America.

#53 So when soldiers swear an oath to a flag and are then given orders to execute prisoners, you have a problem with the guys who won’t do it?

Dont know me July 2, 2013 at 5:50 PM

@ 58 Man he’s a great spy, he flees to China and tells everyone about the information he gathered. smh.

If the NSA is spying on the American people willy nilly, using a 6 degrees of separation logic to find probable cause then they are they traitors.

This whole prism thing is a giant sidestepping of the 4th amendment and federal wiretapping laws (title iii).

It’s quite shocking just how damn brain washed a lot of you people are. You’re own government (Yes YOUR Government, You know… By the People, FOR the people) doesn’t trust you and you’re OK with that.

9/11 did exactly what it was intended to do. Scared you people stupid. Really though look out for the bearded man wearing a taqiyah. He really wants to kill you.

Don’t take every line of BS the government feeds you as truth. Don’t believe me? Look up Operation Northwood, Operation Ajax, The fake terrorist group created by the CIA in the early 80s in Cuba called “Grupo Rojo”

The ideas and concepts presented in these ring a bell no?

Atticus Thraxx July 2, 2013 at 5:56 PM

I’ll concede to your point partially Connie. On the meta. But drill down and this guy is “F’d” and he knew he would be. Took cojones. He knew what happened (and will continue to happen) to Manning when he rabbited. But putting himself in reach of that crazy bastid Putin as an American intelligence asset(well former) leans towards treason in this skeptical citizen’s mind. This story ain’t over and there is no good outcome I can come up with for our protagonist.

Kirk July 2, 2013 at 7:17 PM

China should have taken the chance of protecting what is going to be an American political prisoner. What a shameful situation for the “bastion of freedom” to be in.

At least china doesn’t pretend to be a nation of free men. Obama should make use of that pistol they left in his desk.

TinFoiler July 2, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Honey Trap. Probably just another government Psyop like the whole Wikileaks BS. Nothing of importance EVER comes out of these CONTROLLED “LEAKS” (leaks LOL) Gimme a break.
If the NSA really wants to redeem themselves and justify what they do let them Provide Cell Phone Audio of: Jared Loughner, James Holmes, Adam Lanza, Christopher Dorner, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev……..YEAH, Seeing they DID NOTHING to Stop them it’s doubtful they will Stop anything in the Future – Needless to say, All the ones I mentioned Were FALSE FLAGS.

foonman July 2, 2013 at 7:40 PM

I dont trust our government any further than I can throw them. The Bushs had to go, so now we have the “Chicago Mob” running the country. However, I cant believe this clown didnt have a better way of handling
his discontent. So now he has to answer to proper charges, just maybe a man without a country is about right……………….let Russia have him…

chubby July 2, 2013 at 7:57 PM

@19 Loose Lips..

“I have news: we are at war.” Ok, but that statement implies that being at war is an exceptional condition. With active troops and bases all over the globe since WWII, and untold billions, trillions? of dollars used to fund, direct, and initiate wars waged either directly or by proxy, when was the last time we were not “at war”? The Constitution is awfully wordy. Can we par it down to just two words? “At War”?

AH July 2, 2013 at 8:15 PM

This guy is a traitor. He should know that as Americans, we are God’s chosen benevolent people (this only applies to us white Christians) who have absolute trusts in our government to guide us in what we do in our bedrooms or convince us what country we need to invade. Despite the disagreements we have with our government, like having a black president, allowing mexicans of all forms to live here, and being a bunch of elitist snobs by telling us to go to college, i have faith that saviors who work under the lord and jesus know what is best for us when it comes to making us the most awesome country in the world and protecting us from all those ragheaded muzzies, gays, and communists (i hate communists)!

Walnut Creek Resident July 2, 2013 at 9:13 PM

He has betrayed our trust. He did not know why we were keeping an eye on everyone, He did not know that our security is at risk. He is a fool and should be locked up He has not kept us from any danger by knowing our government can spy on any of us. He does not have right to expose our
knowledge of the electronic data being watched. He is a traitor and should be tried for treason.

Primus July 2, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Anyone know where you can donate money for him?

old sage July 3, 2013 at 12:13 AM

1984 Orwell equals Hero

old sage July 3, 2013 at 12:14 AM

Tried to get statement from George Miller’s office regarding Snowden and the comment was “no comment”

Jess July 3, 2013 at 12:44 AM

30% hero, 70% traitor, 100% misguided

What the NSA is doing was authorized and overseen by Congress. I don’t like it, but it’s not a case of government officials going rogue. There’s no indication the info is being misused. What Snowden did will aid terror groups and other governments that aim to do us harm. The fact that he is seeking asylum in places like Russia and Venezuela shows that his motives are not pure. I’d like to know how a newbie, low-level contracor was able to get so much classified info.

Is anyone really surprised that the government is snooping like this? How do you think they’ve been able to foil so many plots? I think most of us assume the government is doing stuff like this. But we assume they’re not doing it to people like us. We assume they’re only doing it to OTHER people – Muslims, people from the Middle East, people with foreign-sounding names like Mohammad and Hussein.

I no longer have any expectation of privacy. Google was reading all my e-mails so they could sell stuff to me. The government might as well read them so the can detect terror plots. My phone is keeping track of everywhere I go. Some Bay Area police departments have equipped their cars with cameras that record every vehicle they pass by. Some Bay Area towns are recording every vehicle that enters and leaves the town. Cameras are monitoring us almost everywhere. Safeway keeps track of everything I purchase there. Even the ads on Claycord are based on my browsing history. Banks have been selling our financial history. Insurance companies share info about us. Amazon not only keeps track of which books I buy for my Kindle, they also know what page I’m on in each book.

There is just so much darn personal info about us out there being bought and sold and used to track our every move. So the government is reading our e-mails? Well, join the crowd.

Connie Dobbs July 3, 2013 at 8:11 AM

The countries that won’t allow extradition are seldom our allies. That could be the reason he told the EU we were reading their mail, too. He may prefer Marseilles or Hamburg to the Moscow Airport.

100% American Here July 3, 2013 at 8:17 AM

Watergate – that’s hard to answer with no context. There are states within this country that execute prisoners for various crimes. If they just captured an innocent person and shot them, I do not condone that. If they captured someone who was shooting at them and continued to put them at risk, then it may be acceptable.

Context is critical before passing judgment.

If the government can prevent terror attacks on our soil as a result of a program like PRISM, I’m willing to accept that they’re doing keyword monitoring where “one time use” does not trigger anything but repeated use raises the profile.

Targeted Ads on Claycord, Facebook, Amazon and almost any other site are examples where browsing history is “captured” and people use it to their advantage. If you think of PRISM as these approaches on steroids, then there’s not much difference. PRISM adds cell phones but the concept is not much different.

JustSof July 3, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Hero. Jam the NSA.

A whole gang of us are going to the Anthrax show–Toxic Holocaust is opening. It’s going to be explosive.

This botnet won’t stop phreaking my lightning.

I’m waiting~~~

Captain Bebops July 3, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Snowden only did what the DHS commanded, he saw something and said something.

Kat July 3, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Is it really whistle blowing when we already knew this was going on? And if you didn’t know, where have you been? I’d say traitor but again, we already knew about it. I have a very strong gut feeling he’s out for fame and nothing more–well possibly money from a movie deal, right?

Reality Slap July 3, 2013 at 11:11 AM

There is even a question about this? Snowden is a traitor. There are far too many outlets in the United States Media that Snowden could have brought this information to light. He chose to turn to a foreign government to divulge the sensitive information and has only turned to other foreign governments for asylum. It is my belief that Snowden had offered the classified information to governments who were willing to pay for the information. China may have pulled a double-cross on Snowden by threatening to out his amateur attempt at being a 007 if he continued to demand money. They made good on their threat, and the traitor is now a rat with no place to hide.

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