Is Edward Snowden a whistle-blower or a traitor? Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, labeled Snowden (in photo) the latter in a recent commentary in The Eagle, arguing that the former National Security Agency contractor “has provided intelligence to America’s adversaries, enabling them to change tactics and avoid detection.” That drew a response from the Guardian, one of the newspapers to which Snowden leaked NSA documents showing the scope of phone and Internet surveillance. While acknowledging that “information published in the press can be read by anyone,” the Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman noted that Snowden leaked documents to newspapers, not to al-Qaida or North Korea, and said Snowden told him directly during an online chat that he would not trade access to his documents for asylum. Ackerman challenged “the blithe assertion, absent evidence, that the former NSA contractor actively collaborated with America’s enemies. Snowden made classified information about widespread surveillance available to the American public. That’s a curious definition of an enemy for U.S. legislators to adopt.” Snowden is believed to be at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, trying to arrange asylum in another country and to avoid extradition to the U.S.
UPDATE: J.P. Freire, Pompeo’s director of communications, told The Eagle editorial board that Pompeo doesn’t know whether or not Snowden “actively collaborated” with America’s enemies. But “we do know that what he did helped our enemies,” Freire said, “and that’s why we classify information in the first place – to prevent it from falling in the wrong hands.”