Polls say Snowden is ‘whistle-blower,’ not ‘traitor’

Despite a relentless bombardment of messages from politicians and the media alike that the National Security Agency Administration’s monitoring of cell phones, emails and social network sites is essential to “fight terrorism,” recent polls indicate that many here in the U.S. are shocked and angry at the government’s intrusions into their private communications.

In a Quinnipiac University poll released on July 10, 55 percent of respondents viewed Edward Snowden, the man who exposed PRISM and other NSA monitoring programs, as a “whistle-blower” rather than as a “traitor,” the label applied by many right-wing politicians. (tv.msnbc.com, July 10)

From the most right-wing commentators to the most liberal, each has chimed into the chorus of demanding that Snowden return to the U.S. to face harsh criminal prosecution under the infamous 1917 Espionage Act, which provides no protection to whistle-blowers.

Consequently, an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on July 24 showed that 53 percent thought Snowden should be charged with a crime for releasing information that “threatened national security.” (abcnews.go.com, July 24)

Yet most people oppose the idea of any sanctions against Russia for temporarily harboring Edward Snowden.  And most favor no economic retaliation against any nation that provides sanctuary to Snowden.  This obviously runs counter to the U.S. campaign to block any air traffic that may convey Snowden, not to mention the forced landing of the Bolivian presidential airliner.

This latest poll showed that more and more people see the whole range of NSA activities as being an unjustified intrusion on their rights — the ABC poll showed that 34 percent feel that way, which is more than any other polls conducted over the last several years.

As the global capitalist crisis deepens, people here and abroad are beginning to see these high-technology computer applications at the NSA for what they are: tools for repression directed against a rising tide of anger against this obsolete and failed economic and social system.