The legal issues surrounding whistleblowing, leaking, spying, espionage, etc are both important and IMO interesting, and are certainly fair game to be discussed. Not only are they related and part of the story, but it's IMPORTANT that we discuss the legal issues surrounding Snowden's case.
There is a diary up now discussing how Snowden likely violated a non-disclosure agreement he signed, and an example from 2010 where a CIA employee was charged by a public grand jury for doing the same thing. At NO POINT did the diarist write: 'And therefore nothing Snowden did was important or notable, and he is a very bad man.' Yet, this comment showed up pretty quickly:
Quick! Stop thinking about domestic spying!! (6+ / 0-)Red Herring if you've ever seen one.
You have just read an article about Edward Snowden. Reading an article about Edward Snowden may cause some vunerable or unstable people to think about how the US government is spying on its citizens. Symptoms may include feelings of fear, betrayal, anger, and powerlessness. Affected individuals may voice complaints about the president and the democratic party in general. In severe cases, the subject's heair may catch fire.
For immediate relief, the government/corporate partnership advises you to immediately stop thinking about the information Edward Snowden made public. Your government/corporation partnership instead advises that you are still in danger from terrorist attacks, and you should instead think about how unlikeable Edward Snowden is, and how avoiding a criminal prosecution is a sign of personal weakness. Or you can think how much you dislike Glen Greenwald instaed. If the symptoms are particularly troublesome, try rubbing a NDA or the constitution on the affected region.
Your government/corporate partnership advises you to practice safe news at all times.
It's important to know what laws apply in a situation like Snowden's. It's good for us to discuss: What laws do whistleblowers, leakers and spies violate? Are they good laws?
If someone violates the law in order to expose criminal, illegal or unconstitutional activity, should there be a mechanism via which they be absolved of those crimes?
It's a lot more difficult to have those important conversations amongst adults when we have people screeching 'DON'T WRITE ABOUT THIS!! YOU'RE JUST TRYING TO DISTRACT US! WE'RE NOT MAD ENOUGH SO NO WRITING ABOUT ANYTHING THAT DOESN'T MAKE PEOPLE MORE MAD!!!!' ...a tactic which is ironic, because it's accusing someone else of the EXACT thing they're doing: telling people not to say or write about this or that.
Sure, some here have blatantly used distraction tactics to smear Snowden. But there are important conversations to have about who leakers/whistleblowers are, what their motivations are, what constitutes 'good' and 'bad' leaking, etc. Trying to mock, shame, or smear people writing about these ideas and details is no better than smearing Snowden.