Patriots expose Big Brother and shake up the status quo, and that’s exactly what Edward Snowden did

NBC Snowden Interview

In an hour-long primetime interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, former Booz Allen contractor and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden entered living rooms for his first-ever interview on American television. He answered a wide range of questions about his role in leaking classified government documents to the press and the subsequent public revelations that the American government was spying on millions of Americans.

In conjunction with its interview, NBC asked Americans whether they thought Edward Snowden was a #Traitor or #Patriot on Twitter:

Tracking the two terms on Twitter over a 36-hour window (from 2 p.m. ET Tuesday through 2 a.m. Thursday), they were extremely close until Snowden spoke in the hour-long interview, his first with a U.S. television network, and #Patriot spiked. During the broadcast, tweets mentioning #Patriot outnumbered #Traitor nearly two to one.

Overall through 9 a.m. ET Thursday, 59% of Twitter users are calling Snowden a #Patriot versus 41% #Traitor.

You can see the entire timeline here.

Snowden agreed with the online consensus. When asked whether he was a patriot or traitor, Snowden confidently answered that he felt he was a patriot:

I think patriot is a word that’s thrown around so much that it can be devalued nowadays. Being a patriot doesn’t mean prioritizing service to government above all else. Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your Constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen from the violations and encroachments of adversaries. And those adversaries don’t have to be foreign countries.

Critics question why Snowden did not go through “proper channels” to inform superiors that he thought the NSA’s program was wrong; however, Snowden said he did communicate with the NSA’s office of legal counsel about his concerns. Williams noted that was confirmed by NBC.

He also expressed his concern about coming back to the United States to face a “fair trial.” Though Snowden is only officially charged with three crimes totalling a maximum of 30 years in prison, the Espionage Act gives the government expansive power to charge Snowden with any number of crimes, many with the ultimate punishment of the death penalty.

Snowden was charged with theft, “unauthorized communication of national defense information,” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.”

Critics suggest that Snowden should “come home and face the music.” Snowden’s response: “You have to understand the music is not an open court and a fair trial.”

You can watch all five segments of the full interview, beginning with the first one, here:

Also, tweet at @UnitedLiberty and let us know if you think Edward Snowden is a #patriot or #traitor.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.