Edward Snowden -- A fine line between hero and traitor

The South China Morning Post is the next stop on Snowden’s media tour. Not to discuss the NSA’s surveillance on American citizens, but the agency’s work in China. You read that right, that’s not a typo.

Snowden tells the (semi) independent Hong Kong paper that the NSA’s PRISM program is used against companies and people within China, and that the US government is and has been hacking into computers in both China and Hong Kong for at least four years.

He even told the Morning Post how we do it: by hacking into Chinese network backbones, allowing the US government to spy on Chinese Internet traffic without hacking into each computer. So, the Chinese government now has proof of our actions within the country, and that’s troubling.

Snowden’s motives for running to the Chinese media is unclear. The Morning Post says he provided them with “unverified documentation” supporting his claims. Such a revelation shows that Snowden may have far more in his possession than we already know, and God only knows who else he plans to share it with.

But why? Why did the Chinese need to know?

China Shouldn’t Be Part of This Story

I have a hard time comprehending why he felt the need to talk to the Chinese. Especially with evidence that China stole weapon designs and is actively stealing intellectual property from American business. If Snowden’s truly an American, he would have thought twice about helping them.

I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American.

It’s a fine line between traitor or hero. He’s right: he’s certainly no longer a hero. His efforts to get the NSA off American’s backs was much needed. His new tack to reveal our country’s methods to monitor foreign countries is not, and is getting damn close to treasonous. There’s a lot China is doing that this country needs to be worried about, and no American with knowledge of our actions should be THAT willing to share anything.

The last thing we need is somebody like Snowden blabbing to those that we need to keep an eye on that he has evidence of our activities and how we’re doing it. Who’s next? Russia? North Korea? Even for libertarians, this should be seen as a very slippery slope.

(I’ll note that Russia is one of the countries offering Snowden asylum. With the chilling of US-Russia relations, I can’t see them not trying to find out similar information on our efforts there first. He already talked once, why not again?)

The bottom line is this, and it’s a plea to your better judgement, Mr. Snowden. If you are truly an American, you will stop talking now. At least to others. You had a point when it was about America. Talking to China, you look more and more now like Benedict Arnold.

That’s a shame.

Ed Oswald is the founder and editor-in-chief of TechPolitik, a technology blog that explores technology issues and their effect on politics in Washington, D.C. and around the world. His work has appeared on several sites including BetaNews, ExtremeTech, PC World, Technologizer and VentureBeat over the past decade in the tech news business.

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