Yet it is Edward Snowden who probably deserves the most appreciation right now. With each new revelation, it becomes clearer that he has done a public service of the highest order. We can hope that people in power will eventually recognize that and make a deal that will give him asylum in a Western democracy or, better yet, a way back home as a genuine patriot who committed an act of justified civil disobedience.
Who has demonstrated more honor? Is it Snowden or the people, also deeply patriotic, who run our national security apparatus? I don't doubt that the spies truly believe they've also done what is necessary. But they've lied to Congress and the American people; trampled on our civil liberties; and, in general, violated their sworn oaths to defend the Constitution. Who's the greater patriot?