Letter: 'Nonsense' from Newman on Snowden

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No more than a recent criticism of Edward Snowden in The Portland Press Herald does Perry B. Newman’s “Snowden lacks the courage to face conviction” make a sound argument that Snowden’s willing risk of permanent exile from his country and separation from family and friends is insufficient to merit respect for revealing unlimited, illegal government eavesdropping on its citizenry.

In the wake of the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers, treating them as criminals rather than good, even heroically self-sacrificing citizens, in a determination to stop such revelations, however egregious the wrongdoing they expose, Snowden must, by Newman’s measure, be ready to go to jail for 20 years or life as a victim of this war on truth, justice, law, and democracy to merit respect.

Since when is readiness to go to jail for years or life (unjustly) requisite to merit honor for informing one’s fellow citizens they are all being spied on in violation of the Bill of Rights, or informing justice officials of any crime? Snowden is by no means the first good citizen (think of the World War II French Resistance) who sought to do justice without sacrifice of freedom. (I do not remember Father Daniel Berrigan being faulted for evading FBI capture for months following conviction for burning Catonsville draft records during the Vietnam war.

Methinks Newman is talking nonsense.

William H. Slavick