By now, most people have heard all about the explosive story that came out last year regarding leaked documents that exposed spying by the National Security Agency (NSA). Edward Snowden was revealed to be the whistle blower that braved the threat of death in order to let the world know about the secret shenanigans that were taking place. The revelations stunned and shocked the global community while a media frenzy ensued soon after. Admittedly, it was a very brave yet very dangerous thing to do. Now, the question must be asked: has the Edward Snowden saga discouraged future whistle blowers who may now be in fear for their lives?
Mr. Snowden went to work for a government agency, and during that time, he was able to obtain damning information about the NSA’s activities. As soon as the news broke, it was also revealed that Snowden had already left the country for Hong Kong, leaving behind his family and friends. He eventually sought asylum in Russia, which after an exhaustive and nail-biting wait, he was granted. However, as the story continued to unfold, many people began to wonder if what he had done was such a good idea after all. There were those who thought that if Snowden had been extradited back to America, he would not have come out of the situation alive. Although that may seem extreme, it is known that many whistle blowers have in fact met an untimely death over the years. Under the threat of imprisonment or death, most may be of the mind that it is never a good idea to get on the wrong side of the U.S. government.
There are many who consider Snowden a true American hero, who took a brave stand for the people of this great nation, but there are also those who believe his actions were wrong and treacherous. In an online poll, participants were asked if they would have done the same thing were they in Snowden’s position. Surprisingly, a large portion of those polled said that they would not for fear of being prosecuted or even killed. Therefore, if the Edward Snowden saga may have in fact discouraged future whistle blowers, who then will take up the mantle for transparency?
There were allegedly attempts made to capture Snowden before his asylum was granted and there was a very tense standoff between Russia and the United States for a while. None of the alleged assassination attempts on his life have been confirmed either and may just be hearsay. The hype surrounding this story has died down significantly, but it has just been announced that a new up close and personal documentary about what Snowden has been doing in Russia is soon to be released. The documentary, filmed by Laura Poitras and entitled Citizenfour, will show never before seen footage of his life on the run. It will also show his current life and activities in Russia.
Reportedly, there is in fact another individual that is currently leaking more upsetting information to the media, but that person is yet to be revealed, and hopefully, for their own safety they never will be. In this day and age of massive corruption and government fumbling, most would be disinclined to tangle with the “machine” that is Washington. Although Edward Snowden’s phenomenal saga may have discouraged some future whistle blowers, there must be hope that there will yet be those brave enough to confront and expose wrong doing by the government wherever they may find it.
Opinion By Mai Nowlin