Edward Snowden: Patriot, or Perpetrator?


Is Edward Snowden a Whistleblower of Public Enemy? Was justice served when he downloaded an estimated 1.7 million National Security Agency (NSA) files for release to the media, or should he be indicted under the Espionage Act because he weakened U.S. defense?

Intelligence Squared—the Public Affairs Broadcast—hosted a live debate at Kaufman Center to discuss this dispute. Moderator John Donvan and four top thinkers debated Snowden’s patriotism—or lack there of—in the motion “Snowden Was Justified.”

For the motion were two Pro-Snowden heavyweights, Pentagon Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and Snowden’s legal advisor Ben Wizner. Against the alleged perpetrator were National Review contributing editor and former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy and former CIA director Ambassador R. James Woolsey.

This ‘Crisis on Security’ dates to the Patriot Act—a bipartisan law passed post-911 giving the Government sweeping powers in Homeland Security. Debaters argued whether Metadata—logged phone communications—is a violation of private property or intended for domestic security.

For the motion, Snowden was a hero for ousting NSA stored metadata as a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Against the motion, Snowden broke his CIA oath to support and defend the U.S. against all enemies, foreign and domestic, by granting access of classified documents to potential enemies.

Attending an Intelligence Squared debate is a perfect platform for opinions because everyone has their two-cents about hot-topics to share. The debate was a welcoming podium for deliberation and an even better showroom to live-tweet personal views to the Twitter-sphere. The audience becomes the judge, and the ultimate verdict for this debate found Snowden Justified, with 54% of the people for the motion.

If you want a chance to be the bearer of justice, a future debate of interest for the affected adults of today is “Millenials Don’t Stand a Chance,” happening April 9 at Kaufman Center.

The podcast “Snowden Was Justified” aired February 18, and you can download it on NPR.com or Intelligence Squared’s website: IQ2US.org.


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