When a three-judge federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the National Security Agency’s telephone metadata snooping program was illegal, many took the occasion to say that the decision vindicated Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who disclosed the surveillance to The Guardian in 2013.
Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who originally broke the telephone spying story with Snowden’s documents, tweeted, “Maybe someone who reveals a secret program that multiple federal judges say is ILLEGAL is a whistleblower who deserves gratitude—not prison.” Stephen Kohn, the executive director of the National Whistleblower Center said in a statement that “[w]hether you supported or opposed Edward Snowden’s disclosure of this massive privacy violation committed by the NSA, the court’s ruling today demonstrates the importance of whistleblowing.”


Judge Robert Sack. Columbia Law School

Those are the comments we’d expect from these and others who believe Snowden—who is living in exile in Russia and faces espionage charges if he returned to the US—is a whistleblower. The same could be said for those on the other side of the debate, who point out that Snowden disclosed many more US surveillance secrets beyond the telephone dragnet.
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