The way we normally evaluate the action of others is by placing ourselves in his/her place and asking ourselves: what would I have done?
If I had been in Edward Snowden’s place, working with a government security clearance and had found documents that I honestly considered to be so harmful to the nation that had to be disclosed, I probably would have tried to do it through some government entities before going to the press. Which? If I did not trust the executive branch because the documents themselves connected this branch with the wrongdoing, I would direct my attention to bipartisan Congress committees, or the Supreme Court. I would have done some previous research on the preferred mechanisms of disclosure and/ or consulted with a good lawyer friend.
I would have carefully considered the nature of the information to be disclosed. If the information was classified, protected, confidential, then I would have known that I was going to have to break the law, in order to disclose it.
If I had been under a legal and ethical commitment not to reveal this information and had signed a document in this regard. If I had been entrusted to protect this information that I now wanted to disclose, then I would know that I would have to betray the trust that had been placed in me.
So, here I was, Edward Snowden, potentially a criminal and a traitor, since I had decided to disclose information that I should have protected, because I sincerely felt it to be harmful to the nation. And I stress the term “sincerely” because I assume Snowden’s sincerity of purpose as an essential ingredient of the act.
I would have disclosed the information to some of the government entities described above, not to the press and, more important, I would not have run. If I felt I was right, running away would devalue my gesture, would have made me look like a common criminal. I would have put up a fight, taken my case to the public.
Blowing the whistle can be an act of civic heroism. Running away after blowing the whistle is an act of moral cowardice. Now, in a remote corner of the planet I, Edward Snowden, have become a pawn in a pseudo geopolitical game played by rogue nations. They will use me to gain notoriety and for their own selfish interest. My gesture has taken second seat to this tainted game.
Espero deje de ser un peón en un juego de Ajedrez, que sólo piensa en usarlo.
And the last think I would ever dream of doing, had I placed myself in the current position of Edward Snowden, is to take refuge in a country that is so much worse in terms of what I am objecting.
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