[ Gentle reminder: please see #ZPDisclaimer. ]
It is unquestionably right that The Guardian, The New York Times and The Washington Post broke the Snowden-NSA story. So, if I wholly support the journalists, editors, and publishers for exposing the egregious surveillance scandal, then why do I still consider Edward Snowden to be an unquestionable traitor?
Ultimately, I think that he is a traitor to his country because he has gone beyond his national and moral obligation as a whistleblower. Had he exposed his story to the papers without defecting to Hong Kong/China and Russia, then I would be applauding Snowden for his brave patriotism and for the supporting civil liberties.
By defecting to Hong Kong and then to Russia, he has allowed foreign powers access to his laptop which held US state secrets. Although I cannot be certain, I do not think it was his intentions to reveal US state secrets. But, as he was cornered into an impossible position (for which he has to take some responsibilities because he placed himself into this restrictive position), he had to negotiate an exit and the price was revealing US secrets. Whether intentional or not, Snowden damaged the national interests and materially weakened his country. Ergo, he is a traitor.
His justification for revealing the NSA scandal is that the government must be held accountable for it’s action. Agreed. But so too must Snowden. He must also be held accountable for the damage done by allowing China and Russia access to his laptop.
In short, he is not a journalist. He is a whistleblower with the very best intentions but is someone who miscalculated the best way to expose the scandal and is thus suffering from the consequences of his miscalculation. Whilst I support the idea and ideals of Snowden, I cannot support the man because of his miscalculated actions and the damages done.