I’m a skeptic on the line that Mr Snowden had a better course of action: report wrongdoing within the system. One important point I’ve not seen in the public debate about the man is the harm done by letting misbehavior in the agency go unchecked. Too much attention on Joe College’s soft porn addiction in Cambridge than on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s collection of firearms.
If Mr Snowden has indeed made things less safe for people in the West, what of security people who were wasting time trolling around the information of allies? Every minute cackling over Angela Merkel’s cell phone calls was one minute less listening in on terrorists.
It’s clearly difficult to admit in public that the errors of NSA actions and policies may have endangered the innocent and let criminals wander with a looser net over their heads. Mr Snowden’s private entreaties to superiors likely would have fallen on deaf ears. And the man would be out of a job anyway if he pushed.
In the long run, Mr Snowden may have done more to focus people on their jobs and off their titillations. But you can bet none of us will ever know.