Americans support Snowden — but say leakers like him should be prosecuted

U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower EdwardSnowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is seen in this still image taken from a video during an interview with the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong June 6, 2013. The 29-year-old contractor at the NSA revealed top secret U.S. surveillance programmes to alert the public of what is being done in their name, the Guardian newspaper reported on Sunday. Snowden, a former CIA technical assistant who was working at the super-secret NSA as an employee of defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, is ensconced in a hotel in Hong Kong after leaving the United States with secret documents. Footage taken June 6, 2013. REUTERS/Courtesy of The Guardian/Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras Edward Snowden (The Guardian via Reuters)

A new poll shows that the American people are conflicted about Edward Snowden's decision to disclose sensitive and controversial surveillance programs.

The Time magazine poll shows a majority of Americans believe Snowden did the right thing (by a 54-30 margin), but a similar majority says officials who leak such sensitive information should be prosecuted (53-28).

In other words, there are a significant number of Americans who are both lauding Snowden and say people who do what he did should face jail time.

That latter question, it should be noted, made no mention of Snowden and was asked before his specific leaks were mentioned. So it's possible that some people think leakers in general should be prosecuted but that Snowden shouldn't.

(The other question didn't mention Snowden by name, either, but made specific reference to the information he leaked.)

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

politics

post-politics

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Politics

politics

post-politics

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Next Story
Vincent Bzdek · June 13, 2013