It's not about Snowden, or any other Whistleblower.
Deflection is a fantastic device humans have developed over the centuries, and when used perfectly, it is almost guaranteed to sway hearts and minds away from the true offender. Our government has been busy at work creating heighten terrorist alerts at home and abroad, and while I don't have any intelligence, nor has my government provided me with any (1st problem); we the citizens of this nation, are just to blindly believe these threats, and the force our government uses in our name and on our dime, is all justified and on the up-and-up.
Common sense dictates that we do have real enemies, who want to do us harm, and most Americans are steadfast in protecting our way of life, probably more so than this current government that serves us may realize. And I think this highlights one of our government's biggest failures, if they truly have intelligence share it with us, we are smart and strong, and together as a united nation we have been proven to be one hell of an ass-kicker.
Fracturing us apart with secrecy and Constitutional rights violating laws and policies isn't making us weaker, but it is slowing down our response time to real threats that are currently threatening or destroying our way of life.
Protecting this old way of, government knows best, is for the dinosaurs, we already have the technology, but government and special interests (namely of the large transnational corporate variety, with strong ties to the government) have gotten in the way of unleashing a truly Informational Revolution here in the States. Such a revolution could help lead us towards self-governance (the goal of any truly free society). And truth be told, this largest surge from government heavyweights coming out focusing on Edward Snowden, instead of on the NSA programs abusing our rights, they are deftly using deflection tactics.
Instead of being honest with U.S. citizens, the mere fact that government lies publicly about such NSA programs, should already tell you all you need to know. President Obama even went on the Jay Leno show and stated the U.S. is not blanket spying on domestic citizens.
Perhaps you believe that to be true, in light of overwhelming data provided by a whistleblower, along with numerous personal statements from real patriots within these governmental programs, I don't know how anyone could believe the President.
Even the NSA Director admitted to not being completely honest (as if that comes in varying degrees?) about spying on innocent Americans, in front of Congress no less; government cannot be trusted, they have violated that trust, and need to rebuild it with transparency.
But instead of focusing on that, we are focusing on whether Edward Snowden is a hero or a zero ' that is pointless. To me, he was a hero, willing to risk it all to provide knowledge to the citizens so we can arm our vote with knowledge, which is a fundamental keystone for our democratic republic, anything else is unacceptable to me.
But that does not excuse Edward Snowden from punishment for breaking the law, and the unintended consequences coming from his actions. The same unintended consequences coming from secretive rights violating programs run by government for the better "good".
Obviously Snowden needed to flee the country, as sharing information with the public is now a dangerous crime worthy of consecutive decades behind bars. If it was up to me, I would merely fine him for breaching the non-disclosure agreement he signed; same for Private Manning and any other whistleblowers, after all they exposing crimes and violations of our rights ' where's the harm in that? Please provide sources, unless it's a "secret".