The Surveillance Scandals

06.10.13

NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Is a Hero, According to Daily Beast Readers

Did Edward Snowden help his country—or betray it? We asked, and you answered. See the results.

Is Edward Snowden, who leaked the NSA documents, a hero or a traitor?

In the wake of revelations about the extent of the NSA’s surveillance program, we polled our readers Monday on The Daily Beast to see what they think about Edward Snowden, the contractor who has acknowledged leaking the data.

In the poll, which was in all Daily Beast articles about Snowden and had roughly 200 participants, 66 percent of Daily Beast readers said they believe Snowden is a hero. Just 27 percent of readers said the 29-year-old Booz Allen staffer is a traitor.

In our previous call to readers for thoughts about the scandal, which ran over the weekend, many approved of the government’s spying in the name of stopping terrorism. “They’re not out to get me. They’re out to get them!” wrote Larry from Pennsylvania.

In Monday’s poll, we asked readers if they believe it is OK for the government to spy if they believe they have nothing to hide. Just 12 percent of respondents said “yes.”

Asked if they were surprised at the extent of the surveillance program, just 31 percent said they were. However, a solid majority, 80 percent, said they think the NSA’s programs should be reined in. (Of those who were surprised by the extent of the NSA’s programs, 98 percent of respondents said the NSA should be reined in.)

What do you think?

Is Edward Snowden a hero? Are you surprised by the extent of the spying? Should the NSA’s surveillance programs be reined in?

Our poll can still be found to the right of this story, and we’ll update this article if the numbers change drastically in the coming days.