If this South China Morning Post story is right, Edward Snowden isn't admirable in the least and is nothing more than a spy:
Edward Snowden secured a job with a US government contractor for one reason alone – to obtain evidence on Washington’s cyberspying networks, the South China Morning Post can reveal.
For the first time, Snowden has admitted he sought a position at Booz Allen Hamilton so he could collect proof about the US National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programmes ahead of planned leaks to the media.
“My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,” he told the Post on June 12. “That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”
That's a spy. Period. True, he did not do the usual spy thing of selling the information. Lots of spies haven't been in it for the money. Start with Philby and his circle and go on from there. It seems quite obvious from his own words that Snowden is a sort of post-ideological Philby. If he's committed to an -ism, it's probably a vague kind of techno-post-nation-ism in which the nation state is perforce a tyrannical entity and must therefor become a thing of obsolesence. That, along with a healthy dose of me-ism.
A jerk. But more importantly, a run-of-the-mill lawbreaker. The "whistleblower" case was always a little bit dodgy. Whistleblowers expose criminal acts. He just didn't like his country's policy. That's fine. Millions agree with him. But we can't live in a world where citizens are allowed to do what he's done without repercussion.
An interesting question to me is whether the US government really wants him back. Presumably, officials know exactly what he has, and how damaging it is. If he is in a position to continue leaking damaging material, then yes, they want to get him. If not, well, just let him live on the beach in Ecuador and fade from public memory. Why make more of a martyr of him by bringing him home for a high-wattage trial?
I don't invoke Miami Vice much anymore, but if you remember the great ending of season two's "One Way Ticket" ("Okay, Thurmond, you wanna be dead? Bang, you're dead."), I picture this kind of like that.
UPDATE: I should have been clearer in this last graf,above. When Sonny Crockett (police officer) pointed his finger at Thurmond and said "bang, you're dead," he was not in fact shooting him dead but letting him live on the isolated island while preserving the fiction that he was dead. Thurmond, a lawyer, had given loads of info to the cops to help them nail a dirty client of his and then faked his death. Crockett went to get him but then decided to let him remain "dead." So that's what I meant. Let Snowden live out his days in splendid isolation. I keep forgetting there are people out there who don't know every Miami Vice episode.