Edward Snowden is the former Booz Allen employee, working as a analyst at the Honolulu station of the National Security Agency, who leaked Top Secret NSA documents to The Guardian, a U.K. newspaper, and The Washington Post. Unfortunately, both Congress and the Media are blowing this out of proportion, claiming that it was a Secret Program, which was previously unknown. If they would lower the intensity, the whole thing could be sorted-out properly.
In 1978, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to collect information about foreign intelligence or terrorists activities, in response to “Watergate”. Over the years since, FISA has been expanded and, as communications now include landline and cell phones, Email, FAX, and Social Media, the NSA has had to keep up with technology. Requests for warrants have increased considerably; but, the methods of communication have too. A FISA Court issues warrants, and reviews them quarterly.
During the George W. Bush Administration, warrants were issued to compel the telephone companies, and later companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft,. etc., as noted in the Christian Science Monitor, http://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/print/Business/2013/0612/PRISM-reports-prompt-tech-giants-to-push-for-transparency, to provide phone records of all incoming and out-going calls–both domestically and overseas. Keep in mind that NSA could not listen to every call made and received in this country, as claimed.
Mr. Snowden had fled to Hong Kong, which is currently a Territory of China. He provided the documents, and other information, to The Guardian (newspaper), of the U.K., and The Washington Post. Just after he authorized that the newspapers to identify him, he left his hotel room in Hong Kong. The South China Daily Post claims that he is still in Hong Kong and will fight extradition to the U.S., http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1259508/edward-snowden-us-government-has-been-hacking-hong-kong-and-china.
The real concern that I have is not necessarily the information that Mr. Snowden has already provided; but, his knowledge of the Information (read “Intelligence”) Collection Process. His specialty is computers and that is of such importance between China and the U.S., that it was on the Agenda when the two leaders, Xi and Obama, met over the weekend.
Now, what if he flees to another country. The U.S. has a robust extradition treaty with the Hong Kong; however, it is extremely protective of Human Freedoms. Also, Mainland China is just a short distance away. If extradition is not possible, might some other country abduct him? Remember, Snowden knows the Information Collection Process.
So, I don’t believe that Mr. Snowden is a whistleblower, since he “revealed” something that has been widely-known. He violated an agreement which he signed when he received his Top Secret Clearance (and perhaps other accesses), promising not to disclose any information that he might have had access to. Who is Edward Snowden to decide whether or not the information that he provided would cause any problems–diplomatic or otherwise. He’s definitely a Traitor and guilty of a High Crime–each time he leaks.