Angus Reid

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Is Edward Snowden a Hero or a Traitor? (History Will Determine Your Answer)

Posted: 10/30/2013 11:11 am

The Snowden affair reflects the realities of the cyber age. Technology has made it easier than ever for our governments to monitor our communications, eavesdrop on other governments, and store that information, all in the name of public safety and anti-terror efforts.

However, our reactions to what Edward Snowden -- the former CIA operative now living in Russia -- did by exposing these practices are to some extent based on tradition, not modernity. We've seen this movie before.

Our poll surveyed more than 4,500 adults in the U.K., the U.S., and Canada. We asked whether they thought the occasional infringement on civil liberties justified security and anti-terrorism efforts. In Canada, where the country's worst case of terrorism unfolded not on native soil but over the Atlantic Ocean (the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182), just under half of respondents (49%) said yes.

In the U.S., where the terror of 9/11 is still fresh in many minds, 54 per cent said yes. Britons appeared to be the most accepting of the privacy-for-security tradeoff. When asked, they opined that the most important consideration when it comes to government monitoring is that sometimes the ends, security and anti-terrorism efforts, justified the means: the infringement of civil liberties such as the collection of personal information online. That's a clear majority of Britons. The question is why?

I would suggest that the answer lies in the four decades of violence, bombings and bloodshed borne by the British since the start of the Troubles in 1971. Throughout the '70s, '80s and '90s, Britain was the focal point of bombings, ambushes and targeted terror attacks carried out by the Irish Republican Army and other terror groups. Over time, the violence of the IRA and its offshoots have given way to other terrorists using the same modus operandi: killing and instilling fear in the hearts of people going about their everyday business.

No doubt the British drew on the resolve and stoicism they relied on during the Second World War. The phrase "Keep Calm and Carry On" is more than just today's pop-culture meme. It was the motto of families picking their way through the rubble of the Blitz. But they have also have had decades of sustained, violent threats and attacks to focus their acceptance of some government surveillance in the name of public safety. Consider also the long history Britons have had with other forms of surveillance. It is said that there are more CCTV cameras per person in the U.K. than in any other country in the world.

This may also speak to why 48 per cent of Britons surveyed feel that routine electronic government surveillance is either very or moderately acceptable, compared to 40 per cent of Americans. It's not a huge statistical difference, but it does suggest that in spite of the horrors burned onto the psyches of millions of people in the U.S. after the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, the American experience remains one that holds strongly to personal liberties and freedoms.

There is one piece of tradition lost through the Snowden affair: the stripping away of the mythic and institutional respect people once held for their intelligence organizations. The NSA is outed as a common wiretapper of world leaders. Government Communications Headquarters, derivative of the once mighty UK Signals Intelligence (Sigint) which cracked Cold War codes, is embarrassed by Julian Assange. And Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) is accused of spying not on potential terrorists, but the Brazilian mining sector.

Little wonder then, that while the majority of adults in all three countries told us personal information gathered online should only be used by governments in anti-terror and anti-crime efforts, they also believe that their governments are using that information well outside such a defined scope. Cynicism is indeed a modern feeling. And when it comes to government surveillance, public safety, spying and Snowden, cynicism may well be what we feel.

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  • Edward Snowden

    FILE - In this handout file photo taken on Friday, July 12, 2013, and made available by Human Rights Watch shows NSA leaker Edward Snowden during his meeting with Russian activists and officials at Sheremetyevo airport, Moscow, Russia . National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has received asylum in Russia for one year and left the transit zone of Moscow’ airport, his lawyer said Thursday. Kucherena said after meeting with the fugitive at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where he was stuck since his arrival from Hong Kong on June 23, that he handed him the papers proving his status. Kucherena said that Snowden’s whereabouts will be kept secret for security reasons. (AP Photo/Tatyana Lokshina, Human Rights Watch HO, file)

  • Edward Snowden

    FILE - In this image provided by Human Rights Watch, NSA leaker Edward Snowden, center, attends a news conference at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport with Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks, left, Friday, July 12, 2013. The whole time Snowden has been seeking asylum, Harrison has been by his side. She has emerged as a central, if mysterious, figure in the saga that has taken Snowden across the world in an attempt to evade U.S. espionage charges. (AP Photo/Human Rights Watch, Tanya Lokshina, File)

  • Anatoly Kucherena

    This image taken from Associated Press Television shows a copy of a temporary document to allow Edward Snowden to cross the border into Russia, held by Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena speaking to reporters after visiting Snowden at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has received asylum in Russia for one year and left the transit zone of Moscow's airport, his lawyer said Thursday. (AP Photo/Associated Press Television)

  • Anatoly Kucherena, Edward Snowden

    In this still image taken on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 and released by Russia24 TV channel, shows Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, second right in the center, and National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, center back to a camera, as Snowden leaves Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. Snowden has received asylum in Russia for one year and left the transit zone of Moscow's airport, his lawyer said Thursday. Kucherena said that Snowden's whereabouts will be kept secret for security reasons. (AP Photo/Russia24 via Associated Press Television) TV OUT

  • WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 30: Lon Snowden, father of Edward Snowd

    WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 30: Lon Snowden, father of Edward Snowden talks to reporters at The Washington Post via Getty Images in Washington, DC on July 30, 2013. Snowden is a former technical contractor for the NSA and CIA who leaked top secret information to the press regarding government surveillance. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

  • Demonstrators Protest NSA Surveillance

    BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 27: A participant demonstrates in support of former NSA employee Edward Snowden at a protest march against the electonic surveillance tactics of the NSA on July 27, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The NSA scandal has been especially contentious in Germany after media reports claimed the NSA had conducted wide scale gathering of electonic data, including e-mails, of German citizens. Activists are demonstrating against the NSA in cities across Germany today. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

  • Today - Season 62

    TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Bruce Fein, Lon Snowden, father of Edward Snowden and Matt Lauer appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

  • CARICATURE: Edward Snowden

    USA - 2013 300 dpi Chris Ware caricature of NSA leaker Edward Snowden. (MCT via Getty Images)

  • RUSSIA-US-DIPLOMACY-CHINA-INTELLIGENCE

    A man looks in Moscow on July 12, 2013, at a computer screen displaying a photo US National Security Agency (NSA) fugitive leaker Edward Snowden (C) during his today's meeting with leading Russian rights activists and lawyers at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport where he has been stuck in transit for the last three weeks. Snowden met today around a dozen Russian rights activists, lawyers and other figures in a closed-door meeting at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, an official said. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

  • RUSSIA-US-DIPLOMACY-CHINA-INTELLIGENCE

    Pro-Kremlin lawmaker Vyacheslav Nikonov speaks with journalists before his meeting with US National Security Agency (NSA) fugitive leaker Edward Snowden inside the terminal F of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, on July 12, 2013, where Snowden reportedly remains without making any contact with the swarm of international reporters at the scene. Snowden has requested a meeting with leading Russian rights activists and lawyers at the airport in Moscow where he has been stuck in transit for the last three weeks, the campaigners invited said today. AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV (Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • RUSSIA-US-DIPLOMACY-CHINA-INTELLIGENCE

    Lawyer Genry Reznik speaks with journalists inside the terminal F of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, on July 12, 2013, where US National Security Agency (NSA) fugitive leaker Edward Snowden reportedly remains without making any contact with the swarm of international reporters at the scene. Snowden has requested a meeting with leading Russian rights activists and lawyers, including Genry Reznik, at the airport in Moscow where he has been stuck in transit for the last three weeks, the campaigners invited said today. AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV (Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BOLIVIA-EU-US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-MORALES-PROTEST

    Protesters burn an effigy of US President Barack Obama as well as a coffin with flags of Spain, Portugal, France and Italy, during a demonstration outside the US embassy in La Paz on July 8, 2013 a week after Bolivian President Evo Morales's plane, flying home from a trip to Moscow last week, was forced to make an unscheduled stopover in Vienna after these four European nations temporarily closed their airspace over groundless rumours that fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was aboard the jet. Snowden won support from Cuba for his bid to seek asylum in Latin America as he began his third week in limbo at a Moscow airport on Monday. Cuba, a key transit point from Russia on the way to Latin America, supported the leaders of Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua, who have offered the 30-year-old a possible lifeline as he remains marooned without documents in the transit area of a Moscow airport. AFP PHOTO / JORGE BERNAL (Photo credit should read JORGE BERNAL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-INTERNET-SNOWDEN

    A demonstrator with his mouth covered sits next to a banner reading 'Let's protect Snowden' during a demonstration in support of Edward Snowden, the former technical contractor of the US Central Intelligence Agency, at the Place du Trocadero in front of the Eiffel tower in Paris on July 7, 2013. Around forty people, mostly activists from organizations defending rights and freedom on the internet, gathered in support of Snowden, who leaked information on data spying programs of the USA and Great Britain in June 2013 and has sought asylum in 21 countries, according to WikiLeaks. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BOLIVIA-LATAM-EU-US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-MORALES

    (L-R, front row) Presidents Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Jose Mujica of Uruguay, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and Desi Bouterse of Suriname pose for pictures after a meeting called after Evo Morales' plane was rerouted amid suspicions US fugitive Edward Snowden was aboard, in the Bolivian central city of Cochabamba, on July 4, 2013. Leftist Latin American leaders gathered in Cochabamba on Thursday to back President Evo Morales, fuming after some European nations temporarily refused his plane access to their airspace amid suspicions US fugitive Edward Snowden was aboard. Snowden is seeking sanctuary in several nations to evade US espionage charges. AFP PHOTO / JORGE BERNAL (Photo credit should read JORGE BERNAL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • GERMANY-US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-INTERNET-SNOWDEN-ASYLUM

    Activists of the organization Campact demonstrate in front of the German Chancellery in support of fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden , on July 4, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has sought asylum in 21 countries, including Germany, WikiLeaks said. The banner reads 'Who fights for our freedom earns our asylum'. PHOTO / DPA/ KAY NIETFELD /GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read KAY NIETFELD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BOLIVIA-US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-INTERNET

    Bolivian President Evo Morales (C) arrives at El Alto Airport on July 3, 2013 in La Paz, Bolivia, after a flight interrupted by an unscheduled stopover caused by suspicions US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was traveling with him. His plane touched down near La Paz almost 17 hours after leaving Vienna, an AFP reporter observed. It had to land there after several European nations denied it overfly rights as Morales flew back from Moscow. AFP PHOTO/JORGE BERNAL (Photo credit should read JORGE BERNAL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • HONG KONG-CHINA-US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-FILM-ENTERTAINMENT

    US school teacher, Andrew Cromeek smiles in front of a computer screen displaying a photo of himself playing Edward Snowden in 'Verax', the first film on the fugitive US intelligence leaker, during an interview with AFP in Hong Kong on July 2, 2013. Four amateur filmmakers in Hong Kong have beaten Hollywood to the draw by producing the first film on Edward Snowden, a five-minute thriller depicting the nail-biting intrigue surrounding the intelligence leaker when he was hiding in the city. AFP PHOTO / ANTHONY WALLACE (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRUNEI-ASEAN-ARF-SECURITY-US-RUSSIA-DIPLOMACY

    US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) deflects a question from a reporter about whether he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) will discuss the fate of fugitive US secrets leaker Edward Snowden, before their meeting at the ASEAN summit in Brunei on July 2, 2013. Kerry is expected to discuss with Lavrov ways of narrowing differences on ending the Syrian bloodshed, a task complicated by the two powers' tug-of-war over Snowden . AFP PHOTO / POOL / Jacquelyn Martin (Photo credit should read JACQUELYN MARTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-US-RUSSIA-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-SNOWDEN-PROTEST

    Ukrainian Internet Party activists hold a 'tap the phone and internet lines' protest on June 27, 2013 outside the US Embassy in Kiev to attract public attention to the violation of rights following the United States Internet surveillance program exposed by former spy Edward Snowden. Under the so-called PRISM programme, the US National Security Agency can issue directives to Internet firms like Google or Facebook to gain access to emails, online chats, pictures, files and videos that have been uploaded by foreign users. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-RUSSIA-CHINA

    Passengers look in the window as they rest in the transit zone in Sheremetyevo airport terminal F in Moscow on June 26, 2013, where US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden reportedly spent the fourth day with his onward travel. The man responsible for one of the biggest intelligence security breaches in US history has not been sighted since arriving in Moscow on a flight on June 23 from Hong Kong and according to Russia is still in a transit zone at Sheremetyevo airport. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-RUSSIA-CHINA

    A general view of a bathroom in one of the rooms in the Capsule Hotel 'Air Express' inside Moscow's Sheremetyevo terminal F in Moscow on June 26, 2013, where US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden reportedly spent the fourth day with his onward travel. The man responsible for one of the biggest intelligence security breaches in US history has not been sighted since arriving in Moscow on a flight on June 23 from Hong Kong and according to Russia is still in a transit zone at Sheremetyevo airport. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-RUSSIA-CHINA

    A general view one of the rooms in the Capsule Hotel 'Air Express' inside Moscow's Sheremetyevo terminal F in Moscow on June 26, 2013, where US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden reportedly spent the fourth day with his onward travel. The man responsible for one of the biggest intelligence security breaches in US history has not been sighted since arriving in Moscow on a flight on June 23 from Hong Kong and according to Russia is still in a transit zone at Sheremetyevo airport. AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The Aeroflot Airbus A330 plane that is to carry National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden on a flight to Havana, Cuba, arrives at the gate at Sheremetyevo airport, Moscow, Monday, June 24, 2013. Snowden arrived in Moscow on Sunday from Hong Kong, where he had been hiding for several weeks. Ecuador's foreign minister said Sunday that the country is considering his application for asylum. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Ricardo Patino

    Ecuador's Foreign Mister Ricardo Patino speaks to reporters at a hotel during his visit to Vietnam Monday, June 24, 2013. Patino said that his government is analyzing an asylum request from Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor wanted for revealing classified secrets. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)

  • An unidentified passenger, right, who just arrived from Hong Kong and said to waiting journalists that he had seen former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs Edward Snowden, aboard his flight from Hong Kong, as the unidentified passenger speaks to journalists at Sheremetyevo airport, just outside Moscow. Russia, Sunday, June 23, 2013. The former National Security Agency contractor Snowdon, wanted by the United States for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs has been allowed to leave Hong Kong for a "third country" because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory's government said Sunday.(AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Journalists show passengers arriving from Hong Kong a tablet with a photo of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, at Sheremetyevo airport, just outside Moscow, Russia, Sunday, June 23, 2013. The former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the United States for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs has been allowed to leave for a "third country" because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory's government said Sunday. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • Journalists stand next to the Ecuador's Ambassador's car while waiting for the arrival of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who recently leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, at Sheremetyevo airport, just outside Moscow, Russia, Sunday, June 23, 2013. The former National Security Agency contractor, Snowdon is wanted by the United States for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs, but was allowed to leave Hong Kong for a "third country" because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory's government said Sunday. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr)

  • A TV screen shows a news report of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, at a shopping mall in Hong Kong Sunday, June 23, 2013. The former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the United States for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs has been allowed to leave for a "third country" because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory's government said Sunday. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

  • A TV screen shows a news report of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, at a shopping mall in Hong Kong Sunday, June 23, 2013. The former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the United States for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs has been allowed to leave for a "third country" because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory's government said Sunday. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

  • FILE - In this June 21, 2013 file photo, a banner supporting Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, is displayed at Central, Hong Kong's business district. The Hong Kong government says Snowden wanted by the U.S. for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs has left for a "third country." The South China Morning Post reported Sunday, June 23, 2013 that Snowden was on a plane for Moscow, but that Russia was not his final destination. Snowden has talked of seeking asylum in Iceland. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

  • RUSSIA-US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-SNOWDEN

    A journalist shows to a passenger a picture of former US spy Edward Snowden on a tablet, at the arrival gate of the Moscow Sheremetevo airport on June 23, 2013. Snowden arrived on June 23, 2013 in Russia from Hong Kong, reportedly on his way to Venezuela, escaping the clutches of US justice after leaking sensational details of cyber-espionage by Washington. Snowden, the target of a US arrest warrant issued on June 21, 2013 after he blew the lid on massive secret surveillance programmes, arrived in Moscow on a direct flight operated by Russian flag carrier Aeroflot. AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV (Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • RUSSIA-US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-SNOWDEN

    Russian journalists wait for the arrival of former US spy Edward Snowden at the Moscow Sheremetevo airport on June 23, 2013. Snowden arrived on June 23, 2013 in Russia from Hong Kong, reportedly on his way to Venezuela, escaping the clutches of US justice after leaking sensational details of cyber-espionage by Washington. Snowden, the target of a US arrest warrant issued on June 21, 2013 after he blew the lid on massive secret surveillance programmes, arrived in Moscow on a direct flight operated by Russian flag carrier Aeroflot. AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV (Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The front cover of a local magazine shows Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, in Hong Kong Saturday, June 22, 2013. Hong Kong was silent Saturday on whether the former National Security Agency contractor should be extradited to the United States now that he has been charged with espionage, but some legislators said the decision should be up to the Chinese government. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

  • GERMANY-US-DIPLOMACY-OBAMA-PROTEST

    Activists display a photo of US President Barack Obama (L) and pictures of former US spy Edward Snowden (C) and whistleblower Bradley Manning (R) during a protest action on June 19, 2013 in Berlin on behalf of the visit of the US President in the German capital. Barack Obama will walk in John F. Kennedy's footsteps this week on his first visit to Berlin as US president, but encounter a more powerful and sceptical Germany in talks on trade and secret surveillance practices.. AFP PHOTO / RONNY HARTMANN (Photo credit should read RONNY HARTMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A TV screen shows the news of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, in the underground train in Hong Kong Sunday, June 16, 2013. Top U.S. intelligence officials said Saturday that information gleaned from two controversial data-collection programs run by the National Security Agency thwarted potential terrorist plots in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries - and that gathered data is destroyed every five years. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

  • A TV screen shows the news of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, at a shopping mall in Hong Kong Monday, June 17, 2013. Top officials from the Obama and Bush administrations say the government's newly exposed secret surveillance programs have been essential to disrupting terrorist plots and have not infringed on Americans' civil liberties. The officials justify the massive trawling for phone and Internet data as new revelations add to public disclosures about the classified operations. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

  • A supporter holds picture of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret information about U.S. surveillance programs, and Hong Kong movie star Jackie Chan during a protest outside the Consulate General of the United States in Hong Kong Saturday, June 15, 2013. The protesters accused the U.S. government of infringing people's rights and privacy. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

  • Supporters of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret information about U.S. surveillance programs demonstrate outside the Consulate General of the United States in Hong Kong Saturday, June 15, 2013 as they accused the U.S. government of infringing people's rights and privacy. A popular Communist Party-backed newspaper urged China's leadership to milk a former U.S. contractor for more information rather than send him home, saying his revelations about secret American surveillance programs concern China's national interest. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

  • Hundreds of supporters of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret information about U.S. surveillance programs march to the Consulate General of the United States in Hong Kong Saturday, June 15, 2013 as they accused the U.S. government of infringing people's rights and privacy. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

  • Hundreds of supporters of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret information about U.S. surveillance programs march to the Consulate General of the United States in Hong Kong Saturday, June 15, 2013, accussing the U.S. government of infringing people's rights and privacy. A popular Communist Party-backed newspaper urged China's leadership to milk the former U.S. contractor for more information rather than send him home, saying his revelations about secret American surveillance programs concern China's national interest. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

  • A TV screen shows the news report of Edward Snowden, former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, at a shopping mall in Hong Kong Friday, June 14, 2013. A popular Communist Party-backed newspaper urged China's leadership to milk a former U.S. contractor for more information rather than send him home, saying his revelations about secret American surveillance programs concern China's national interest.(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

  • Claudia Mo Man-ching

    Pro-democractic legislator Claudia Mo Man-ching speaks next to a picture of U.S. President Barack Obama and Edward Snowden during a news conference in Hong Kong Friday, June 14, 2013. Two lawmakers in Hong Kong said on Friday that they had written to President Obama to try to persuade him not to bring charges against the former US intelligence contractor Snowden. Snowden revealed last weekend he was the source of a major leak of top-secret information on NSA surveillance, saying he was uncovering wrongdoing. He spoke to reporters from an undisclosed location in the semiautonomous Chinese territory of Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

  • In this photo released by Arthit Suriyawongkul, a U.K. Home Office Carrier Alert notice about NSA leaker Edward Snowden is seen at an airline check-in counter at Chiang Mai airport in Thailand, Friday, June 14, 2013. A British diplomat confirmed the British government issued the alert to airlines around the world, urging them not to allow Snowden to board flights to the United Kingdom. (AP Photo/Arthit Suriyawongkul)

 

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