Edward Snowden has made some dangerous enemies. As the American intelligence community struggles to contain the public damage done by the former National Security Agency contractor’s revelations of mass domestic spying, intelligence operators have continued to seethe in very personal terms against the 30-year-old whistle-blower.
“In a world where I would not be restricted from killing an American, I personally would go and kill him myself,” a current NSA analyst told BuzzFeed. “A lot of people share this sentiment.”
“I would love to put a bullet in his head,” one Pentagon official, a former special forces officer, said bluntly. “I do not take pleasure in taking another human beings life, having to do it in uniform, but he is single-handedly the greatest traitor in American history.”
That violent hostility lies just beneath the surface of the domestic debate over NSA spying is still ongoing. Some members of Congress have hailed Snowden as a whistle-blower, the New York Times has called for clemency, and pundits regularly defend his actions on Sunday talk shows. In intelligence community circles, Snowden is considered a nothing short of a traitor in wartime.
“His name is cursed every day over here,” a defense contractor told BuzzFeed, speaking from an overseas intelligence collections base. “Most everyone I talk to says he needs to be tried and hung, forget the trial and just hang him.”I understand their anger--Snowden has made their job more difficult, and they are angry about it. However, these intelligence agencies that are complaining about Snowden are the ones that created the problem. They exceeded their mandate. They spied on Americans. They have undermined our republican form of government. They breached our trust.
I don't know Snowden's motives, so I don't know if he was a patriot or a traitor. But I am getting sick of government officials that are only sorry when they get their hands caught in the cookie jar. And I'm tired of empty promises to fix things.