Is Edward Snowden a True Whistleblower?

Is the NSA leaker a whistleblower or a political activist?

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Is Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information about National Security Agency programs to both the Guardian and the Washington Post, a whistleblower, traitor or activist? It depends on who you ask.

Snowden has been clear from the start that he wanted his actions to raise a national debate about the proper size and scope of the federal government. Snowden, a  contributor to the Ron Paul campaign in 2012, is currently living in Hong Kong.

[ See a collection of editorial cartoons on the NSA.]

During an interview on Fox News, the Wall Street Journal's Jason Riley said that he doesn't believe Snowden is a whistleblower at all. "I see this as a very dangerous man that I hope will be prosecuted, found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," he said. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, recently tweeted, "Why is the media using [the] sympathetic word ‘whistleblower’ for Edward Snowden?"

Today, during a live chat with the Guardian, Snowden was asked, "Why did you wait to release the documents if you said you wanted to tell the world about the NSA programs since before Obama became president?" He responded:

Obama's campaign promises and election gave me faith that he would lead us toward fixing the problems he outlined in his quest for votes. Many Americans felt similarly. Unfortunately, shortly after assuming power, he closed the door on investigating systemic violations of law, deepened and expanded several abusive programs, and refused to spend the political capital to end the kind of human rights violations like we see in Guantanamo, where men still sit without charge.

However, in a preceding statement in the same chat, Snowden claimed to have admired some of the nation’s most  famous whistleblowers, including Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, and Wikileaks accomplice Private Bradley Manning.

What do you think? Is Edward Snowden a true whistleblower?  Take the poll and comment below.

This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.