Even After Obama's NSA Speech, Will America Embrace Edward Snowden?

by
Patrick Creaven
President Barack Obama gave one of his most important policy speeches of his presidency Friday and it very likely wouldn't have happened if not for Edward Snowden. But will America begin support him?

Edward Snowden, Barack Obama

A Washington Metro bus is seen with an Edward Snowden sign on its side panel December 20, 2013. CREDIT: Reuters

President Barack Obama gave one of his most important policy speeches of his presidency Friday and it very likely wouldn't have happened if not for Edward Snowden.

After about eight months of leaks from the former intelligence contract worker, the president said American intelligence agencies needed more court oversight when collecting and storing phone data. Obama also wants to end the practice of eavesdropping on leaders of friendly foreign countries.

The person most responsible for these changes hides in Russia, not allowed to return to his home nation without facing a probable lengthy prison sentence. But even though Snowden's leaks has led to meaningful conversation about the role and scope a security agencies, a majority of Americans believe Snowden should be prosecuted.

In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released in November, 60 percent of Americans said they believe Snowden harmed national security and 52 percent want to see Snowden charged, while 38 percent don't. It doesn't matter what party you poll either, with Democrats and Republicans finding something to be united about. 59 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of Republicans say they want Snowden charged.

There has been a recent wave of support for Snowden, noticeably by the The New York Times, which said Snowden is a whiste-blower and should face minimal punishment, if any.

It will be interesting to see if the public goes into Snowden's corner after Obama's speech Friday, considering his leaks have now produced real policy changes in the United States.

But what do you think of Edward Snowden? Has you opinion of him changed over the last six months? Do you think he will ever return to the United States?

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