Edward Snowden: Hero or traitor?
The man at the center of the National Security Agency’s leak is now in hiding and out of a job.
Booz Allen Hamilton announced Tuesday it has fired Edward Snowden for violating the consulting firm’s code of ethics. Now many people are debating: Is Snowden a hero or a traitor?
Americans are split on his actions by either having a definitive opinion or wavering mindset that may change as more details emerge.
“I think he’s a traitor,” says Louis Sweeney of D.C. "I wouldn’t call him a hero. I guess he just felt the American people needed to know.”
It’s a similar breakdown on Capitol Hill as members of Congress question why and how he did it, and if he acted alone.
House Speak John Boehner didn’t hold back on Good Morning America Tuesday.
“He’s a traitor,” he said. “The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk.”
Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski prepped colleagues for more debate.
“People are asking ‘Why does a kid who couldn’t make it through community college make $200,000 a year and be exposed to some of our most significant secrets?’ so we’ll have a lot of hearings on this,” Mikulski said
According to his now former employee, Snowden actually made $122,000 a year and left his home in Hawaii for Hong Kong without telling his long-time girlfriend, acrobatic pole dancer Lindsay Mills, who, like Snowden, lived in Anne Arundel County.
“At the end of the day what he leaked was classified information and he shouldn’t have leaked it,” says Scott Kavanaugh of California.
While Snowden is believed to still be hiding in Hong Kong, people in Washington and across the country are still debating whether he is a hero or a traitor.
“I don’t know if he’s necessarily a traitor because of it, not that I’m going to pat him on the back for it… I think there was more to it than just him and I don’t think he should just take all the blame for it,” says Nicole Brown of Texas.
As the FBI continues to search for Snowden, the Justice Department continues to try to decide what to charge him with so that they can proceed with the extradition process once they find him.
“By definition, a whistleblower is someone who speaks out against unethical or illegal conduct in the organization in which he or she works. By definition, Snowden is a whistleblower,” stated Fred Alford, professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Maryland. “What makes Snowden unusual is that he seems to have broken the law (an official secrets act) in order to do so. But this makes him no less a whistleblower.”
Skip Wood contributed to this story.