Is Edward Snowden really what he claims to be — a whistleblower out to expose government overreach? Or is he a pawn, witting or unwitting, of America’s adversaries?
It’s been the longest couple weeks in the history of the National Security Agency, thanks to Snowden’s astonishing leaks of sensitive information — among the most damaging in U.S. history. The former IT contractor for the NSA, and previously for the CIA, has already divulged vast amounts of data about highly classified signals intelligence (SIGINT) programs. It’s by far the worst series of leaks ever for NSA, America’s biggest, best-funded, and most secretive spy agency. And Snowden promises more to come.
But the case hasn’t taken the path many expected. When Snowden first appeared in his Hong Kong hotel, dramatically outing himself as the source of stories in the Guardian and the Washington Post about a top-secret program called PRISM, attention immediately focused on whether the NSA was violating U.S. laws and the 4th Amendment by collecting information about Americans, as Snowden asserted forcefully
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