A correspondent on Al Jazeera NewsHour this morning claimed that, while the polls are all over the place, US-ians tend to see Edward Snowden as more traitor than whistleblower. She also said that in the US, there is a lack of widespread outrage at the extent of spying by the US agencies at home and abroad.  However, as indicated below, a recent poll shows 55% of the respondents see Snowden as whistleblower, and not a traitor.[/edit]
Dictionaries tend to give two main definitions for the word traitor:
[trey-ter] Show IPA
1.a person who betrays another, a cause, or any trust.
2.a person who commits treason by betraying his or her country.
I had assumed that, in the context of Snowden’s revelations about state surveillance, the accusation applied to hi would more likely be the second. Furthermore, some of the relevant polls focus on whether Snowden had betrayed his country.
With regard to the first definition, who has violated the trust in them to carry out the duties allocated to them on the behalf of a democratic state and country? State agencies spying on all their citizens, violating their privacy and treating them as potential criminals? Leaders of countries, instructing their country’s state agencies to spy on its citizens on the behalf of powerful corproate interests?
Or an employee working for a state surveillance agency deciding to whistleblow because he thinks these agencies are betraying the trust invested in them on behalf of a democratic country?
Tech Eye reports (my bold added):
A Quinnipiac University poll has revealed US voters consider Edward Snowden to be a “whistle-blower” and not a “traitor”, despite establishment efforts to paint him as such.
55 percent considered him a whistleblower following the Prism and NSA revelations. Just 34 percent considered him a traitor.
Support for Snowden as a whistleblower was largely unchanged by divisions such as political party, gender, income, age and education.
In the recently released second part of the Snowden / Guardian interview, he predicted he would be tarred as such and gave his reasons for the leak. Snowden said he had not passed on intelligence to foreign governments and exposed the scandal because of his loyalty to the Constitution, not in spite of it.
Also on Al Jazeera NewsHour this morning, a spokesperson for Amnesty International made some significant claims in relation to Snowden’s claim for temporary asylum in Russia. She said it would be illegal for Russia to grant such temporary asylum on the condition that Snowden did not reveal any more NSA information. It would also be illegal for the US government to demand that Russia set this condition.