Good Example Of Research Paper On Edward Snowden’s Actions: Betrayal Or Civil Disobedience

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: United States, Law, Information, Politics, Intelligence, Security, Edward Snowden, Government

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/12/07

While most of the people already know about such person as Edward Snowden, some other still do not know about him and the first questions which comes to their minds “Who is he? What has he done?” To start with, in early June 2013, Edward Snowden conveyed to the newspapers The Guardians and The Washington Post the information which is secret in the National Security Agency in the United States of America. The information presented by the newspapers meant mass surveillance of US intelligence for local citizens. The media thanks to Snowden also learned about the project PRISM which is the US state program and it turned out that the US government intercepted dozens of embassies as well as intercepted telephone conversations of politicians from European countries. Snowden said the US cyber intelligence which collects computer information in other countries, including Hong Kong and China, and the UK and US intelligence agencies to monitor computers and intercepted phone calls of foreign politicians and officials who participated in the summit of "Big Twenty" in London 2009. Other documents talk about plans NSA and Cyber Command US to map potential targets for cyber-attacks in foreign countries.
This person is responsible for one of the most significant information leaks in the political history of the United States and his name can be seen frequently in the news. This is a 29-year-old former CIA technical officer and he has been working in the US defense industry namely the National Security Agency for four years as a member of various third-party contractors, including the company Booz Allen Hamilton and Dell. He calls himself a system administrator though in fact he was an ordinary computer technician, but with great potential due to the work of national security in the United States. He said that "he could see everything" meaning watching the NSA networks and controlling the transfer of files, he somehow had access to a huge amount of secret documents and correspondences. Considering that American intelligence agencies massively collected metadata about calls not only ordinary people, but at least 35 heads of state, including Europe. Some EU countries have urged the United States for clarification on this matter. It is expected that internal audits will take place in the near future all the security services of the European Union.
Already in June 21, 2013 US Department of Justice brought charges against Snowden charges of stealing government property, unlawful use of information related to national security, as well as in the voluntary transfer of secret intelligence data to other people.
He is undoubtedly responsible for the transfer of all the materials of one of the most mysterious and secret organizations in the world - the National Security Agency. In order to describe Snowden’s actions, it would be rational to define whether his actions are thought to be a civil disobedience or he is betrayal and this status means the larger scale of guilt in general and understanding the seriousness of what Snowden has done though another prism. According to my point of view Edward Snowden is determined as a betrayal whose actions seem not only sinister but dangerous in its full understanding.
Snowden was “all-seeing” and “all-knowing” to correspond to his duties and he watched all the information flows within the Agency. In the end, the number of unfair things that he observed exceeded the allowable limit. According to the interview with Snowden (2013), he claims that “When you have full access to everything as a system administrator in the secret service, you offer a lot more information than ordinary employees. So often you see things that can seriously disturb. If you are an ordinary person, you are faced with this a couple of times. But the person, who sees everything, is forced to carry it all the time.”
Snowden, as well as any citizen has his personal right to suspect the government in illegal activities and even be sure that he was right. However, he has not said about this in the press, has not organized a march and he has not sued over possible violations by the government. Instead he collected and published classified information thus committing such acts which are authorized by law only to the sole legitimate representative of the people of their country - the government which is elected by the people. That is a legitimate method to protect against the alleged violation of the law by the government he preferred illegal. Snowden has broken the law and it is recognized even by his father. Snowden illegally usurped the rights of the court and the right to act on behalf of the people. No country in the world there is no such a law under which the government cannot be a secret from the people. In all countries there are laws according to which there are data that can be accessed only by a limited number of persons elected by the people. People are now at greater risk due to security breaches. This occurred because terrorists have learned about the methods and mechanisms that the United States used to gather intelligence. And it is obvious that all the operations have been compromised.
Collecting and publishing sensitive information instead of fighting violations of the law means his legal ignorance and excessive vanity, which was, in my opinion the real motive for his actions. For the sake of vanity, though not intentionally, he rendered services to terrorists around the world, warned them of the possible dangers, caused them to be careful, and the threat to life has strengthened their fellow citizens. So he betrayed the people of his country. Russian authorities recently granted the former US intelligence officer Edward Snowden residence permit valid for three years. In the United States Snowden was accused of spying in connection with the publication of secret documents. While working on the National Security Agency (NSA), the United States Edward Snowden had access to thousands of secret documents. Last year, he began to transmit newspapers classified materials on global programs conducted by the NSA surveillance.
Moreover, the way how Snowden acts allows to consider him a betrayal as he fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he was granted asylum for one year. Now Russian authorities issued him a residence permit, which allows to stay in the country for another three years. Expert on the Law of National Security of the American University Stephen Vladeck was greatly surprised by the decision of Russia (2014) "After all, he is still an eyesore for the US intelligence community. And, more importantly, in practice, this means that Snowden is a place to live until the end of the Obama presidency, and by the time the political situation can change abruptly as his chances of returning to the United States ". Actions of Snowden and Moscow's decision to grant him a residence permit was given a new impetus to argue about whether it can be called a traitor.
An expert on national security at Columbia University Richard Betts (2014) said: “In my personal opinion, he is a traitor because he had violated its obligations under the secrecy and because no one should put their conscience and their ideas about right above the law. And I think that it harmed reasonable, in my view, the actions of the US government's intelligence gathering.” Whatever people may think of Snowden, it could be called a criminal. There is no doubt that he had violated the statute of espionage and that he should be punished for his actions.
According to Vladeck, Espionage Act was passed in 1917, when the United States entered the First World War. It deals with the so-called "classical espionage" - for example, on the activities of foreign agents involved in espionage against the United States. According Vladek, the problem is that this law is outdated: “Today, under the law on spying get three very different activities: classic espionage,” leakage "of information and informing. All three are considered the same, when it comes to the transfer of information in the field of national security to someone who is not entitled to receive it. “Vladeck and other experts note that in practice the law of espionage rarely used, but in recent years he was "reborn as a weapon that the US government uses in an attempt to stop leaks of classified information.”
Human rights Russian activist Lyudmila Alexeeva named the prosecution of Edward Snowden to be lawful as he violated the laws of the United States. According to the acrticle "This man had access to classified information. If he gave the obligation to keep information secret if he divulged state secrets, he has committed a crime. As a person who commits a crime, he should be punished” (Creighton). According to Alexeeva, the US has the right to seek his extradition, as he broke the law, disclose a number of important state secrets. Moreover, the fact that Snowden faces the death penalty at home, Lyudmila Alexeeva did not care and it seems to be clear as Snowden is thought to be a scoundrel and a spy as he violated the laws of the most democratic country, for which he must answer to the law. What is more, at the disposal of the former US intelligence officer Edward Snowden there were about 1.7 million files National Security Agency (NSA) which are related to intelligence operations of the armed forces of the United States and which were stolen by Snowden. That is why the main idea of considering him as a betrayal is understandable.
According to them, most of the files are quite relevant to the current operations of the American army, naval and air forces of the USA. At the same time, lawmakers have expressed the belief that the publication of a number of documents caused serious damage to US intelligence. According to Rogers, the publication in the media of classified information allowed the opponents of the United States to obtain information on the methods of work of US intelligence and jeopardize operations troops and lives of American troops abroad.
Nevertheless, the decisive moment which distinguishes the positive view on Snowden’s actions from the negative one is that he crossed the line of what is permitted thus breaking the law and this is definitely considered as not only a civil disobedience but takes its roots deeply in the understanding what “betrayal” means and the fact that Snowden has committed an offence to the United States of America for what he should be punished. Depending on what charges he may bring, Snowden could face a sentence of up to life imprisonment or even the death penalty. It is so, because the United States insist on the return of the citizen to his homeland, where he will have to answer to the law for theft and disclosure of confidential information.


McCarthy, Tom. “Edward Snowden's lawyers 'working' to bring NSA whistleblower back to
US.” The Guardian Mar. 2015.
Basu, Rekha. “Snowden betrayed his government, but it has betrayed us.” The Des Moines Register Sep. 2014.
Coughlin, Con. “Our enemies are stronger because of Edward Snowden’s treacherous betrayal”. The Telegraph May 2014.
Masi, Alessandria. “Edward Snowden Interview: He Was A Spy For The US Government And Insists The NSA Can Go "Into The Way You Think.” International Business Time May 2014.
Creighton. Scott. “Manufactured Hero Edward Snowden Surrounded by Regime Change Figures in Moscow.” American Everyman July 2013.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 07) Good Example Of Research Paper On Edward Snowden’s Actions: Betrayal Or Civil Disobedience. Retrieved December 07, 2022, from
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Good Example Of Research Paper On Edward Snowden’s Actions: Betrayal Or Civil Disobedience. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 07, 2020. Accessed December 07, 2022.

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