Most Americans View Snowden as Whistleblower rather than Traitor
Edward Snowden, the former contractor who leaked classified information about U.S. domestic spy operations, is not a traitor, say most Americans.
In a new national poll (pdf) conducted by Quinnipiac University, 55% of respondents said they consider Snowden a whistleblower for telling the media about secret National Security Agency programs involving phone records of Americans.
The survey also revealed what Quinnipiac called “a massive shift in attitudes” regarding the government’s anti-terrorism efforts. The new poll found 45% said those efforts have gone too far in restricting civil liberties.
Three years ago, a Quinnipiac survey revealed 63% felt such activities didn't go far enough to protect the country.
The survey uncovered a gender gap on counter-terrorism efforts, with men saying 54%-34% they have gone too far and women saying 47%-36% they have not gone far enough.
Men and Republicans have grown particularly concerned over the threat to civil liberties as a result of the government’s counterterrorism programs.
“The massive swing in public opinion about civil liberties and governmental anti- terrorism efforts, and the public view that Edward Snowden is more whistle-blower than traitor, are the public reaction and apparent shock at the extent to which the government has gone in trying to prevent future terrorist incidents,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a press release.
“The fact that there is little difference now along party lines about [this issue] is in itself unusual in a country sharply divided along political lines about almost everything,” added Brown. “Moreover, the verdict that Snowden is not a traitor goes against almost the unified view of the nation's political establishment.”
To Learn More:
U.S. Voters Say Snowden Is Whistle-Blower, Not Traitor (Quinnipiac University)
Public Opinion Shifts on Security-Liberty Balance (by Nate Silver, New York Times)
Majority of Americans Disapprove of NSA Surveillance Operations (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Whistleblowers Versus Obama’s Secret Government (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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