Is Edward Snowden a hero for revealing government wrongdoing, or a traitor for leaking classified information? “I don’t think anybody acts and says to themselves, ‘What I’m doing is immoral, but I’m going to do it.’ People always rationalize,” according to former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow. Correspondent Lucky Severson reports on the debate over the morality of Snowden’s actions.
Selected quotes from the transcript:
EDWARD SNOWDEN: I’m just another guy who sits there day to day in the office and watches what’s happening and goes, “This is something that’s not our place to decide. The public needs to decide whether these programs or policies are right or wrong.”
THOMAS DRAKE: I went through every chain of command that existed, including internal inspector general.
SEVERSON: Snowden has said that he skipped the country because he saw what happened to whistleblower Thomas Drake. Drake was an NSA senior analyst who went to the Baltimore Sun only after he had gone up the chain of command to complain about a billion-dollar spy program that was later abandoned.
DRAKE: I was put under severe duress. I was surveilled physically and electronically. I was threatened. At one point the chief prosecutor, in April of 2008, said, “How would you like to spend the rest of your life in prison, Mr. Drake, unless you cooperate with our investigation?” And so they came after me with everything they had.
JESSEYLN RADACK: I mean, when you are a whistleblower, you are extremely isolated. The government called me a traitor and a turncoat and a terrorist sympathizer in the New York Times, and that makes you pretty radioactive.